Abdul Bari Jamal moved his family from Afghanistan to Canada in the early 90’s. They were essentially in exile from their homeland Afghanistan. He had quickly realized that the civil war in Afghanistan was not going end quickly and he feared for his family and his own safety. So, he was able to get his family first to Pakistan, then Europe and finally to Canada. They originally settled in Vancouver and Abdul who had been an army officer had to change occupations. He managed to become an accomplished ‘concierge’ and was employed by prestigious major hotels. This suited his colorful personality. During this time he moved his time his family to Toronto where they have settled and prospered.
In Toronto the family quickly assimilated, his wife Amina who had been a schoolteacher in Afghanistan (and who narrowly escaped with her life when the school was bombed) began working in sales with some of the major department stores. She could not continue her career here in Canada as a schoolteacher. The children (as children do) adapted very quickly to life in Canada. Although all five of the children were born in Afghanistan, they all grew up here in Toronto as urbanites, completing their post secondary educations and are now working professionals in the Toronto.
However, for Abdul and Amina it has been a struggle to accept a life in exile. Both have a deep longing for their homeland. When Abdul heard about the existence of another Kandahar – located right in the middle of the country – Saskatchewan – he was excited to see a connection to his homeland, even if only by name. After a brief visit he decided to buy plots of land there as alegacy for the children. An obvious act indicating Abdul’s deep feelings for thi connection to his homeland and for this hamlet of 19 people.
The small number of accompanying photos have been preserved and cherished by Abdul and give us a glimpse of his past life. Include are Images of Abdul as a boy, with his parents and photos of his wife Amina and their young family. Other snapshots show him and friends in happier times posing and enjoying a meal. Abdul also travelled and we also see various locations he both lived in and visited. Scenics of Kabul, his eventual home in Kandahar Province and street scenes from other locations. To quote Abdul; ‘as a young man I once journeyed to Bamian to see the giant Buddah’s – it was like a trip to Mars’.
Also you will find some remarkable candid images of the traditional Afghan game of ‘Buzkashi’ (literally “goat pulling” in Persian) a centuries old, Central Asian sport in which horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal to score.