Michel Chikwanine: “They forced me to kill my best friend”

Meet Michel. He grew up in Beni, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the age of five a rebel group abducted him. High on drugs he was forced to kill his best friend in an initiation ceremony.

He escaped a few weeks later.

He managed to flee to Ottawa in 2003 with his mother, leaving his two sisters behind.

Today he’s going to university in Toronto.

In the seven years that Canadian immigration has delayed his sisters’ applications, one sister was raped and killed.

Quotes from the interview:

“Who lives in this country [Canada]? Why would they live here? It’s so cold!”

“I remember getting off the plane [in Ottawa] and looking up at the sky, and there were no bullets flying by…I was so peaceful, and so happy to be in Canada.”

“Growing up as a child in Beni [Democratic Republic of Congo] was really great.”

“It became really hard for me to become a child again.”

“Congo will always be home…but Canada has really adopted me and has given me so much opportunity.”