Friday, June 17, 2011

The Little Brother

Asalamu Alaykom,

These very sweet children (mashahallah) are not the actual kids in this post.

Today is a bright, breezy day in Egypt.  I've eaten birthday cake for breakfast.  I've laughed and played and enjoyed a relaxing start to my Friday.  Alhumdulillah.

While I know I have to start packing for my trip to America, I'm going to be sharing a story with you first.

This was my last week with a group of really wonderful people; my kindergarten class.  Together we hugged out problems and learned how to communicate fears, anger and joy.  I love them more than any other people in Egypt.  Yet, I loved them as a teacher loves her class----somewhat from a distance, as if on a hill which she is encouraging them to climb.

For those who don't know Egyptians, I want to point out that some of those loveys were Muslim and some were Christian.  We played in the sand and worked together at the tables regardless of religion.  Parents trusted me with their child and more than that---those parents really loved me for how much I loved their child. 

Allhumdulillah, I believe those children and those families are better for my efforts.  Inshahallah, I did the most I could.  May Allah forgive me for any time I could have done better.

May Allah protect them all.

I do love teaching. 

On Wednesday morning, I was feeling absolutely void of energy.   We'd spent the entire day before rehearsing our show in the theatre.  It was therefore, that much more welcomed when I received two very nice notes of thanks from parents (which is always the best gift teachers can get).  One note mentioned that a little brother was on the list to come to me next year.

No name was written down for the little brother.

So, I had to ask his big brother in my class.  During role call, I asked my student, "Mom wrote to me that your brother wants to be in my KG class next year.  What's your brother's name?"


I started to smile, but submerged it as I rephrased and used some hand gestures.  "No, that's the big man in your house," I said putting my hand up high.  "Who is the little boy at your house?" and I moved my hand down.


I started to laugh and the other children started to titter along.

I decided that I had to switch to Arabic, which I do on occasion for brief moments of clarification.

"Ahuick samahu eh?"  What's your brother's name.

"Marafs."  He didn't know.

He didn't know.  I must not have asked him right, so I asked my Egyptian assistant to step in and say it all right.  She asked him and he still didn't know his brother's name.  It was hysterically funny!

The class was all laughing.  I covered up my face with the attendance book because I was really cracking up.

"You don't know your brother's name?"

He shook his head, "no."

I tried a different tack.

"OK, when your mom has food ready on the table and she wants him to come eat, she yells, 'TA-ALLAH, YA..."


I laughed.  "Then 'Ahmed' is your brother's name."


What a funny time. 


skim said...

That is TOO hilarious. I think one of my favorite customs here is the way people call kids by the term they want the kids to call a kid might be called "Mama," Baba," and "3ammo" all in one day...but never hear their actual name. Haha.

Looking forward to reading about your reflections in your time in America! As for me, I will be home for the rest of summer, then headed to law school in the fall. The start of a new adventure...will definitely be holding the Middle East in my heart the whole time, though.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom,

Funny, eh? I know what you mean about calling kids, "Mama" or "Baba". What freaked me out if a mom caling her BOY "Mama". I was let the therapist know about that in 20 years.

I'm interested in my reflections too! I kinda wish I could visit the future, get forewarned and then travel back to skate on through. Maybe? No? OK, I'll have to live through it.

Very cool law school gig! Go for some justice! And now that you are better informed about the big world, I bet you'll do better as you fight the good fight.

How did you escape without at least an engagement?!!! Your townsfolk have lost their game, girl. LOL! There's still time! Say,"goodbye carefully!"

MarieHarmony said...

Funny post and sweet commemts on your class. I am sure you're doing a good job with them all, reading on all the love you give them. It's beautiful to see somebody happy about her job.
How long are you travelling to America? Wishing you a peaceful & lovely trip.
Take care.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Marie Harmony,

I'm glad you liked the post. The story still cracks me up. LOL!

Alhumdulillah the kids are OUT and I'm almost done packing up my room. Tomorrow is my last day. Then, I'll be flying WHOOOSH! I will be in the U.S. for six weeks. I hope YA RAB they go well. I need to do my utmost to make that happen (remembering to act as I want to and not react as others try to push me). Thanks for your kind du'a for our trip. Peaceful and lovely are going to be my key words :)

Much Appreciated!