My relationship with Quebec is a love story. My husband had come
to Montreal for professional training. It took only two months for me to fall
passionately in love with this welcoming land. At the end of my stay, I said to
myself, "Oh Lord, how I love this country! I would like one day to live
here and to raise my children here."
Cameroon is the place where my roots are deeply entrenched. My
umbilical cord is buried there. I cannot even say that I have left it, for even
if rivers and oceans separate us, a part of me remains there.
Remarks recorded during an interview.
Martine Onana Otou was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon. She had always had
a passion for the law, but her father wanted her to study administrative
technique. Once she had received her vocational training certificate, she said
to her father, "Sir, here is your diploma; now I am going after my
own." Several years later, she obtained her post-graduate degree in
Law from the University of Yaoundé.
In 1986, she rejoined her husband
in Senegal, where he worked with the regional office of the International
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Dakar. Appointed Second Secretary for the
Cameroon Embassy in Senegal, she was responsible for Cameroonian students and
trainees. In 1993, her husband was transferred to ICAO headquarters in Montreal.
Once settled in Montreal with her family, Martine decided to devote herself
to the education of her children. "I have no regrets because I
chose 'the best part'. For nothing in the world, in fact, would I have wanted
to miss a mother's most beautiful years: when she awakens her children to Love;
when they confide in her their first secrets; when she instils in them the
basic principles of life." Openness to others is a value that
tries hard to pass on to her children. "I wanted to make good
above all else, of these treasures that the Lord entrusted to me. I always
tell them that the best way to take part in the establishment of just and
peaceful societies is to get involved. They are Québécois and
Canadian, but they are also Cameroonian. I try to pass on to them a legacy that
is the best of both worlds!" To a busy family life is added the
writing of a doctoral dissertation in Law on judicial pluralism in Africa,
which she foresees defending in 2006. Very active in the community, Martine has
dreamt for a long time of contributing to the creation of a space
would be at once a school, a church and a museum - in a word, a house open to
young people originating from the five continents, desirous of learning to Live