When I was still young my father encouraged me to learn Arabic. He said there are many advantages of learning another language which includes the ability to read the Qur’an. I became so skilled with the Arabic language that I’m more comfortable using it than English. That’s when I decided that I want to be an Arabic teacher. I started teaching kids ages 8-12 years old in Marawi City during Saturdays. It was not so difficult because most of them learned the language at home just like me. One of my unforgettable experiences as a teacher was when the Department of Education asked me to translate English and Tagalog textbooks to Arabic. That became a big break in my career. It was a great honor to do that work. If there is an Arabic phrase I want you to learn first, it will be “assalamu alaikum” which in English is “peace be with you.” This is a common greeting among Muslims, sometimes it is accompanied by a hug. When I moved here in Bohol, I was surprised that Christians would greet me assalamu alaikum, even the jeepney drivers or the street vendors. It is a very comforting phrase and, also my favorite.

- Qapwa

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