• Adelaide Valerie Tegomo Tsakem

  • Cameroon - Calgary

Art by Emily Honderich

Adelaide Valerie Tegomo Tsakem story

Adelaide Valerie Tegomo Tsakem was born in Cameroon in 1982. She is married and a mother of four beautiful children. She attended primary education in a public school and secondary education in a private Catholic college. She obtained her baccalaureate in 2005 in the city of Dschang, Cameroon. She enrolled in law school at the University of Dschang in 2006, but a year later gave up law to study banking and finance. In 2008, she earned her diploma in banking. Adelaide found a job in the bank and a few years later quit to start her own business. In 2020 she immigrated to Canada with her family.

My Experience With COVID-19

My name is Adelaide Valerie Tegomo Tsakem. My family and I arrived in Canada on February 21, 2020, as permanent residents. I am a mother of four beautiful girls. We came when the coronavirus was making its way to its first victims and during the initial talk about the lockdown.

I would say it is an adventure to leave your country with your family and go to a new country where everything is unknown. It is another thing to arrive in this new country only to have to stay inside for months because of the coronavirus. My brother welcomed us when we arrived, and we stayed at his house for 12 days while waiting to find our place to live. Fortunately for us, we found a house very quickly. It was at this point the quarantine started.

How terrible it is for a virus to keep us all at its mercy. This pandemic was so scary at one point. To go out only when necessary. To go out and buy groceries but with the fear of contracting the virus. This fear haunted me for weeks. At one point, I didn’t want to go out anymore. It was so scary to hear about all these deaths. But I had to be courageous and do it; otherwise, my children would not eat. Over time things gradually calmed down, and my fear disappeared.

Some health measures were not very easy to observe. For example, to avoid touching our face. It is not very practical, but I didn’t forget. It became almost an internal reflex. Also, having to wear a mask. It was not comfortable, but it was necessary.

Lockdown closed us in ourselves. I think people integrate better in a new country when they go out and meet new people. People integrate better when they have conversations with new people. People also integrate better when they discover new places. People integrate easier when they use public transportation. Most importantly, as a French-speaking newcomer, having conversations with other people could’ve helped me improve my English. COVID-19 did not allow me to do all these things. The worst thing that can happen to someone is to wake up every day in a new country and not be able to go out and explore. It is very frustrating.

It was as if life had stopped. Activities were mostly online. You can interact through the internet or the phone with other people, but there is nothing better than physical contact.

The confinement helped me improve my English through the TV programs I watched every day. I always had ''Google Translate'' open to translate all the words that I did not understand. I also had my English test online during the quarantine, and I received an impressive score of 6 in all the sections.

Despite all this, there is one thing that made me very happy. I was able to stay with my kids all day. We played together, did physical activities together, and made small crafts together. I even discovered my second daughter’s artistic talent in drawing. My first daughter, who is eleven years old, was helpful in the kitchen when I prepared food.

Even if almost all contact and communication have been online, I find Canadians very welcoming, friendly, and kind. Canada is a beautiful country. I cannot say it enough. When you walk into a store, the cashier makes you feel known.

Another exciting thing is that although we have just arrived and don’t have a job yet, we don’t lack food because the government of Canada supports us financially. It’s magnificent.

When I was in college, my dreamland was Canada. And I am here today. My dream came true, thank God. In conclusion, I would not say the quarantine was negative, but I feel sorry for the families who have lost loved ones.

"Despite all this, there is one thing that made me very happy. I was able to stay with my kids all day. We played together, did physical activities together, and made small crafts together."

- Adelaide Valerie Tegomo Tsakem