On a rainy day in June 1996, my family arrived in Pearson International Airport. Both my parents are originally from the province of Sohag in Upper Egypt (Sa’eed). My father was born in the city of Tima and my mother in the city of Tahta; we are Sa’ayda. My parents left Egypt hoping to achieve security and stability for themselves, and to provide better opportunities for my sister (three) and I (six) in Canada. We spent quite a long time in the airport searching for our bags. When we finally got our things, we rode with my uncle to our newly rented apartment in Flemingdon Park.
My sister and I grew up in a deeply Coptic Orthodox household. This meant that we attended church regularly. The church was central to our lifestyle and all our social activities were connected to it, such as youth trips and fundraising dinners. If there were any disagreements or marital issues, the first and only recourse was to talk to a priest. In essence, all aspects of our lives were tied to the church.
As I matured and became increasingly integrated within Canadian culture and society, my faith slowly began to adapt and change. By my second year in university, I was exposed to new ideas and sought to expand my views and understanding. I then began to grow an appreciation for different cultures and different religions. That love and passion led me to a career in spiritual care. Today, I am a hospital chaplain and I provide multi-faith and multi-spiritual counseling to diverse people inside a hospital setting.
Bavly Kost – Toronto, Canada