What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project? We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Read the reflections of Clara Guerrero.
“I’m happy that it happened in my life.”
When I first started with The Shoe Project, I thought it would be about sharing my story and connecting with other immigrant women who would share theirs as well. I did not imagine that participating in this project would produce a big change in me.
It was not easy to write about myself and the arduous process of starting a life in a new country.
I wanted to write about my salsa sandals, the ones that have been with me for an awfully long time. I took them with me to every country I have lived in. I walked, worked, and danced in them in Colombia, the United States, England, and the Dominican Republic. When I came to Canada, I brought them with me, of course. And they have been in my closet for 14 years.
Occasionally, I look at them and can feel the warm tropical weather, the ocean breeze, the dancing music, the bands playing, the friends, the smiles, the laughter, and the fashion. But then, some minutes later, I pack them and carefully put them back into the closet again. I understand that I lived plenty of good moments with them, in the same way that I had a good professional career before coming to Canada. However, I cannot live my present life attached to memories. It is better to let go, conquer my fears, accept the changes, and create wonderful new experiences. This is what The Shoe Project helped me realize.
Week after week, meeting with the other participants, I listened to their stories about their lives, their difficulties. I had amazing coaching from Helen Rolfe and Nan Hughes Poole, and wonderful encouragement from Noriko Ohsada. We could not have asked for more. I am more than happy that I am part of The Shoe Project. Thank you, Katherine Govier. Thank you, Canada.
Clara Guerrero was born in Bogotá, Colombia, the country of smooth coffee and exquisite flowers. While working for a worldwide corporation in Dominican Republic, she decided to come to Canada to study English. Her planned visit of five months turned into 14 years in the Bow Valley. Through the challenging experience of the immigration process, the feeling of transformation became meaningful to Clara. She now appreciates a simpler life in Canmore where she works in the retail industry.