Jonathan Alfred Ishaka Jumu
September 17, 1972 – August 3, 2017
Rest in peace
Let's help Alexandra get to Africa!
Upon completion of her radiation, Alexandra will be taking a trip to Sierra Leone in order to meet with Ishaka’s family and give him the memorial service and burial he deserves.
All donations will go directly to Alexandra for travel expenses to and from Sierra Leone, Africa in September 2017.
Alexandra and Ishaka Jumu: A Love to Cross the Oceans. - Written by Christine Bucholtz
Alexandra Jumu (nee. Stojanovic) was born in Burlington, Ontario. Her husband Ishaka Jumu was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa to parents of Mende and Krio descent. Alexandra first started speaking to Ishaka in 2006, and there was an instant connection: beyond a love of reggae music, the pair shared a common love of life, easy-going spirit, and a longing for peace and unity throughout the world.
Quickly, Alexandra and Ishaka knew that this soul connection, friendship, and love they shared was too special to miss out on. They decided they had to meet in person. In January 2007, Alexandra planned her first trip to Sierra Leone. After spending time together, they knew they wanted to share a life together, and they were wed on January 16, 2007. Alexandra returned to Canada, and began the process of applying for a spousal visa for her husband, so they could live together here in Vancouver, and he could create his handmade crocheted sweaters and hats to sell at artisan markets as well as perform reggae music. Ishaka was a very talented reggae musician who performed with many artists, like the famous Joseph Hill from Jamaica. Alexandra and Ishaka had every hope that he could continue his musical and artistic career in Canada while promoting multiculturalism and unity throughout the country. Sadly, their spousal visa application was denied as Canada deemed that their marriage was not genuine. Alexandra fought hard to gather enough documentation of their love and relationship in order for her appeal to go through successfully in 2010. Unfortunately, they were denied again and told to wait before applying.
Devastated but determined to continue to fight for their love, Alexandra began saving up enough money to return to Sierra Leone in 2011 to see Ishaka again. As a single mom, this was not an easy task – but her love and dedication to Ishaka, and his love and dedication to her were what pulled them through. After spending more time together, they were both even more inspired to make sure the paperwork went through so they could be together. They talked on the phone almost every day, they prayed for each other, they cared for each other’s families, and they believed in the future of a brighter day for both of them. They saved up for years in order for Alexandra to be able to go back to Sierra Leone in 2015-2016 so they could spend time together. After meeting another Canadian friend there in Sierra Leone who saw them together and was in awe of their love for each other, they were even more determined to continue the struggle and fight to be together. Alexandra was able to save up enough to hire an immigration lawyer, and she began gathering up every text message and photo from the last ten years of her and Ishaka’s lives together in order to prove the authenticity of their love.
Finally, it seemed that the stars were aligned for the couple – their paperwork was ready, and after nearly ten years, they were unwavering in their fight to prove to the world that their love was real. They were exhausted from spending ten years apart as a married couple, and they were ready to be together after such a long time. Sadly, in January 2017, Alexandra was diagnosed with breast cancer. Heartbroken and worried they would never be able to be together, Ishaka prayed Alexandra through her mastectomy. Fortunately, the cancer was removed and Alexandra began her radiation treatment. The couple was in a celebration phase, as the paperwork for the Canadian spousal visa had been fast-tracked due to Alexandra’s health. Tragically, Ishaka became very ill in June 2017, and was unable to get proper medical treatment due to a lack of adequate health care facilities in Sierra Leone. He died of respiratory failure on August 3, 2017, leaving his beloved wife Alexandra behind.
Beyond the injustices dealt to them by immigration and health care systems, Alexandra and Ishaka’s story is one of true love: a love that didn’t give up despite setbacks, a love that survived Ebola, and a love that survived ten years of waiting and praying with an unfailing hope. Now, upon completion of her radiation, Alexandra will be taking another trip to Sierra Leone in September 2017 in order to meet with Ishaka’s family and continue her duty as a wife by giving him the memorial service and burial he deserves.
Thank-you for taking the time to read and contribute!
Friend and colleague since 2004