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Afghan families in Indianapolis celebrate Nowruz

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Seyar Sherzad has lived in Indianapolis for three months.

It’s been a long journey to get here.

“I came in August 2021. I was in Qatar, Doha, and then I traveled to Germany, and from Germany back to U.S. in Fort Dix, New Jersey, so it’s been a long journey, yeah,” Sherzad said.

He was a telecom provider for the us military when he lived in Qatar.

“I was providing them internet, SIM cards, scratch cards, phones, everything,” Sherzad said. “Often in difficult and mainly dangerous spots in Afghanistan, mainly the south side.”

Now, living in Indianapolis with some of his family, Sherzad says he’s thankful to be in the Hoosier state.

“The journey that we started was some kind of different experience,” Sherzad said. “We were thinking, ‘What will happen?’ But when we got here, we got the friends, the family, so we count ourselves in the right place.”

Nowruz, which coincides with the start of spring, celebrates Persian New Year. Sherzad and others from the community on Monday enjoyed the holiday, which, Najia Sherzad Houshmand says, can’t be done in Afghanistan.

“It’s a celebration when family and friends come together and we used to celebrate it in our country. It was a holiday back home,” Sherzad said. “I have hear that, unfortunately, the new Taliban government have removed this from the list of public holidays.”

That’s why the Immigrant Welcome Center in collaboration with the Global Village Welcome Center thought it was so important to host the event.

“This is a really important event because this is the first new year’s celebration that our Afghan neighbors, new Afghan neighbors to Indianapolis, are here celebrating and not at home, so it’s really important to make sure people realize they are welcome and appreciated in our community,” said Celia Campbell with the Immigrant Welcome Center.

Sherzad says he’s thankful for the event.

“We have the same kind of event in our country, so today it doesn’t feel like we have missed it. I’m very thankful for it,” Sherzad said.