June 29, 2016. I took the bus from Eugene, Oregon, to Portland and flew to Brussels, Belgium, took the train to Ghent, about an hour away, and was met by my Moroccan friend, Abdelaouhab Kerrou. At 32 years of age, he is fluent in five languages. First his native Berber tongue from the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Starting in grade school he learned Arabic, French and English, plus lessons in reading and writing Berber because the government wants people to retain their culture. Since he migrated to Belgium after marrying a Belgium tourist who was visiting the Todra Gorge where he grew up, he has learned Dutch in a mandatory program for all migrants.
Now he has a job giving training orientations to new migrants. Abdul took a day off work to show me around Ghent and we went to the Gravensteen castle, which is a copy of a much larger Syrian fortress. It was Ramadan, so Griet cooked dinner for herself and me and Abdul waited until after 10 pm to eat his.
|Francesco made the most fabulous pasta salad. The dad, Renauld, served it saying, we make this because the children will eat it. Yes, I remember the days of raising children and what they would and would not eat, very well.|