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Posts Tagged ‘American Language Center’


In Obituary on March 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Hussein al Farakh, d. March 17, 2012

Hussein al Farakh was a security guard at the American Language Center in Damascus when I worked there.  I didn’t know him very well but he always gave me his serious head-nod whenever I passed him on my way into the building.  Quiet, unassuming, but charming and clever.  On March 17, 2012, he was one of the 27 casualties resulting from double explosions in the capital.  It didn’t matter that we weren’t best friends, or even good friends for that matter.  It still went straight to the heart to find out that an innocent civilian was in the wrong place at the wrong time and this time “it” had a name that I knew.

Every time I read about another explosion ripping through the capital I worry about my friends and former students that are still there.  I check facebook right away to see if the usual people have posted something to let us all know they escaped this one.  And this time there was the announcement that Hussein was a victim.  I wish I could write more about him and give people a name and face to a situation that is miles away for most of us.  Instead, my friend, Yakoob, wrote a piece that came from sadness, but also admiration and friendship.  It’s worth taking your time to read it, not only because it reminds us that life can be ripped away in a second, but also because it’s a beautiful story of a many faceted gentleman who made a lasting impression on those around him.  Read the story,  Hussein, by Yakoob Ahmed.

My Students

In Middle East, Syria on May 18, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Me with some of my students.

Now that I’m an English teacher I suppose I need to share a few of the gems my students hit me with.  (Note: they are all older than 18)

Two days ago we’re practicing some reading and they have a hard time pronouncing ‘suggested’.  So I suggest to them before they fall asleep that night they should say ‘suggested suggested suggested’ and make the word their own.

I’ve also told them to stop calling me ‘Teacher’ and to call me Alison instead.  This is difficult for them since they have always been taught to respect authority (notice I do not say elders).  So one of the guys who believes himself to be the hottest thing on the planet is calling me over to ask a question.  He says ‘Teacher’ so I ignore him but he keeps trying anyway.  Finally I turn around and ask what my name is.  He gets this smile on his face and says, “Tonight before I fall asleep, I’ll say ‘Alison Alison Alison’, and then I’ll never forget it.”  Gag.

To all you teachers out there, does this ever happen to you???