Moving from place to place may be easy for some, but leaving the place you know as home in hopes of better isn’t easy. Cameroon native, Toyi Chana lived in his country for over 27 years. In 2016, he came to the United States knowing only one person – his mother. He was granted asylum as of March 2017. “Life in the U.S. is a much better life than in Cameroon,” he explains. “I can live freely, move freely. No one is pushing me [around] and I’m not afraid of being arrested at any time.” Mr. Chana is one of the 492 refugees and aslyees who receive a special level of care from Community of Hope which includes immunizations, health education and care coordination.
Mr. Chana is a humble man of few words, but what he had to say was inspiring. When asked about what Community of Hope means to him, he stated “I have a life now.” After hearing about Community of Hope from Catholic Charities, Mr. Chana called us. “I checked the website online because I wanted to see what was available to me. When I first spoke with someone, they were really caring. They had empathy for me and, when I needed help, they were there.”
Mr. Chana has visited Community of Hope to receive medical and dental services about 15 times. Wanting to be proactive in his health, he’s even attended workshops and screenings held by his Refugee Healthcare Coordinator, Lydia Guebrehiwot. “She’s been a great help for me. Answering questions and providing information. She’s taken care of me since I started coming here.” Mr. Chana also credits his primary care provider for advising him of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. “Being healthy in Cameroon is different than in the [United] States. Here, I see a lot of people fall into health challenges like diabetes or drugs and alcohol, but my doctor advises that it isn’t for me.”
“Health is important no matter what. Money can’t buy you health.”
To stay motivated, Mr. Chana heavily relies on maintaining a healthy lifestyle – which includes exercising, taking medicine as prescribed and attending appointments. With a healthy body, comes a healthy mind and he plans to use his mind in the medical field. “I just received my CNA certificate,” he told me. “It’s important that I stay motivated and set goals so I don’t get bad habits or become distracted.”
This new life in the U.S. seems promising for Mr. Chana, with the help of personal and health-related goals he’s set for himself. “I have a future and I think it’s bright if I work hard.”