My Caring Shoes
Sahar Sahel (+Video)
Sahar’s mother bought her a beautiful pair of shoes that cared for her feet all the way to Canada. That was her mother’s way of giving her courage and strength to start a new life in a new country. Sahar never thought of immigration as a possibility for herself. Life surprises and leads her to trade everything she had for blessings.
I am Sahar Sahel which means “the dawn on the beach” in Dari. I am from Afghanistan which I call the land of love. I was born there and I have some of the most amazing memories of this land of love.
When I close my eyes, I dream of a peaceful Afghanistan—an honest and loving country, but sadly, it’s now just a dream. I’m from Afghanistan, a land of hospitality and respect. I am from Kabul, the capital and the largest city of Afghanistan. A place that shows respect to elders and kindness to children. A city that is home to Babur’s tomb, where the gardens are stunning, the architecture beautiful, and the views breathtaking.
I am from the land with cloudless blue skies, the land with high mountains, the land full of dry fruits. I am from the country of pomegranates and grapes. I am from the province of Ningrahar—a necklace of flowers, from the land of heaven, from generations of Wardaks. I’m from a family educated and gifted in the arts. From the Muslim land of love and kindness. I’m from the dream land full of beautiful nature and soft water…I’m from spectacular and fantastic Kabul (where you can find kabuli palaw and landi, two dishes representing my family). I’m from the land of buzkashi, the sport of unity and joy, the land of Gol Sorkh, the land full of colourful people and gorgeous places, the stunning land where I forget to breathe for a second.
Before coming to Canada, my mom bought me a pair of shoes and I have crossed many countries in this pair. These shoes have seen many ups and downs of my life. They’ve witnessed experiences and adventures that I’ll cherish for rest of my life.
People don’t often pay attention to their shoes—how they cover us through all seasons and protect us unconditionally. Of course, there are also shoes that can be painful. They are much like humans: some good and comforting souls and some painful soles!
I wore my shoes with great pride. With these shoes on my feet, I first took baby steps, then walked confidently and ran toward success in my life and chosen career. I was in public health, a new field in our country. I started as an intern, learned a lot, gained confidence and moved from being a student and intern to working in health promotion, information and education communication and behaviour change communication. But my whole life changed after the collapse of Afghanistan’s democratic government. I was a new bride when the trouble began in the country. After the fall of the government, we travelled to Albania. I became pregnant there. Being pregnant and a refugee in Albania was tough. We spent seven months there. Then on April 29, 2022, we arrived in Canada. I was seven months pregnant and mentally and physically exhausted. I felt anxious and stressed all the time. I needed to rest and relax.
It’s hard to start everything from ground zero, especially when you’re pregnant, but the birth of my daughter has given us hope, the will and power to continue our life. After all, I am Sahar Sahel or “the dawn on the beach”, born to end the darkness, to end the water famine.
Sahar Sahel is from Afghanistan where she worked for the Ministry of Public Health. She holds a degree in public health from the Kabul Medical University. She worked for five years in health promotion. She moved to Canada in 2022. She is now participating in Npower Canada’s JITA Program. In her free time, she writes stories and motivational speeches which give her courage for a better life.