My Non-Matching Boots That Made My Life Coordinated
Amani El Khabir
Although the colour of her left boot seems to be less polished than the right one, Amani starts a new life in Canada with non-matching shoes. In many aspects, her home country isn’t fair, but being a sexist country, it is more unfair to females. A video of a woman in her twenties being whipped in public by a police officer because she was found sitting in a public place with a male friend prompts Amani’s decision to leave her home country. She wants her four daughters to feel confident and safe.
“Mommy, did you get the snow boots?” asked my daughter who was living in Canada.
“I didn’t. Honestly, I am not used to wearing boots,” I answered her.
“Mommy, the snow is not a joke here.”
I went to the mall to look for snow boots. It took me a full day to find a pair. They were golden brown, yet the colour of the left boot seemed to be less polished compared to the right one. I decided to start my new life with non-matching shoes.
The factors that urged me to leave my homeland were uncountable. However, the final and deciding factor was something that I saw repeatedly when I closed my eyes. I recalled a video of a woman in her twenties being whipped by a police officer. The charge was that she was found sitting in a public place with a male friend. The terrified girl was in agony, screaming and full of anger. None of the bystanders who were made to watch dared to say anything. What an atrocity!
The decision to leave my home country was not easy, and the balance of probabilities was not clear. But being a mother of four daughters, who could have been the woman in the video, I knew I had to leave because my country is ruled by a “religious” military junta, who believe that they possess the “absolute truth”.
I had to part with my parents, siblings, and other loved ones to move to a country where I wouldn’t have anyone other than my own family. However, Canada was where my daughters could feel confident and safe. I wanted a place with opportunities to secure a better life for my children.
I chose to wear my non-matching, golden-brown shoes to fly to Canada. When I first arrived in Toronto in December, there was a big snowstorm, unlike anything I had ever seen in my hometown. Yet it was not as shocking as the video I had seen.
Without family and friends, I had a hard time adjusting to daily life here, but the people I met were very friendly, welcoming—and patient with my totally different way of thinking. I went back to school through a government-funded program that helped pay my tuition fees and living costs. I got a diploma in paralegal studies to enhance my bachelor’s degree in law and the first part of my master’s degree in human rights, which was just a theory in a country that abuses human rights around the clock.
In Canada, I was absorbed by the services and facilities that prioritize human beings and their integrity. When my daughter gave birth to her first child, I was surprised that she was not asked to first pay her hospital bill. On the contrary, after she gave birth, they asked her if she had a safe place to go to with her new baby. Yes, I have made the right decision to come to Canada, regardless of the luxurious life I have abandoned. It’s not easy to find a country that’s beautiful, diverse, fair, and welcoming to everyone, regardless of nationality, gender, race, religion, or political belief.
It’s true that the left boot of my golden-brown snow boots that brought me to Canada seems to be less polished than the right one, but I’m positive that these boots brought me to the right place—this very polished, acclaimed country.
Amani El Khabir is a women’s rights advocate and the proud mother of four daughters and two sons.