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Journalist who survived war-torn Afghanistan to speak in Orillia

Veersen Bhoolai spent three years working in Afghanistan and wrote a memoir about this experience; He will discuss his work and book at Nov. 21 event
Veersen Bhoolai portrait
Veersen Bhoolai will be in Orillia later this month to discuss his book about his time as a journalist in Afhganistan.

Veersen Bhoolai is coming to Orillia to give a "book talk" at Hibernation Arts on Nov. 21 from 1 to 3 p.m.  

Bhoolai worked for three years in Kandahar, Afghanistan as a journalist. He will share his experiences there and provide some perspectives on Afghanistan. The $10 entry fee includes light refreshments.

Bhoolai, a Canadian journalist, has worked in print and television; he is a graduate of Humber College.

Coming from a family of lawyers, he is the lone wolf journalist in the pack and has published two books this year. The first, No, I don't work in the kitchen, Surviving war-torn Afghanistan for Three Years is his memoir as a journalist in that country.

The second, Trials & Tribulations, is about  a young boy's struggle while growing up in Trinidad & Tobago.

His talk in Orillia will focus on his experiences in Afghanistan.

As a United Nations journalist working in Afghanistan in 2009 he narrowly missed a suicide bomber by mere metres. He dodged rockets and slept in tents in sub zero weather with no heat and encountered many other challenges.

What he did not expect was to have to tolerate static from the very people with whom he worked. Despite being a Canadian citizen, he found himself occasionally looked down upon or spoken down to due to the colour of his skin. 

Many soldiers, he says, were too fixated on his face to recognize the Canadian ID on his chest. Being shouted at, having his bed kicked at night and a flashlight shone in his face in the early morning was just some of the ignorance he had to endure. 

Some people have spent six months in Afghanistan and come back with stories to tell. This Trinidadian Canadian spent three years there, mostly in fog filled tents, waking up to the sound of bombs to watching a friend’s body parts shovelled into a garbage bag after a suicide bombing.

Contrary to popular belief, Veersen Bhoolai never worked in the kitchen.

Hibernation Arts is located at 17 Peter St. S. For more information, call the studio at 249-385-5039.