Little by little our family is beginning to settle back down again in rural Spain, while also getting back to our daily routine of service here in our town. Spaniards, Gypsies, Rumanians, Latinos and North African people stop us everyday in the streets of the town to express their words of welcome and at the same time, they like to tell us how much they missed us in our absence from this town. Some North Africans friends of ours add this question and friendly remark: “Fucash.. Gadiiin nbideu L Qaraia?”
Authorities in our town offer through different Community Centers different kinds of training and help for Islamic immigrants, including teaching Spanish as second language. Sadly, this is changing due to the Spanish economic collapse that is causing many of these centers to close. Our center is not supported by the government and this is why it is the most modest of all the centers in town. I thought that our absence from town for the time that we were in our home country would not be noticed, but I was totally wrong…
Some days ago in a North African home, while drinking mint tea with some African patisseries:
–So how is your family in your home country? How are your parents doing?
¨Fatima¨ the mother of the family asked us.
–We missed you lots, especially because of the Spanish classes!
We told ¨Fatima¨:
–You should have gone to the other centers in town to keep learning Spanish.
She added this as she was serving us more tea:
–I attended classes in those other centers but I did not like it at all.
–So they did not teach you well? We asked ¨Fatima¨.
–No is not that…Learning the Spanish language is not what matters the most to me, but you, the ones who have become my own real family in this foreign country. This is not about learning Spanish… What a great thing that you are back!
After a couple of minutes of silence she vigorously added:
–¨Fucash Gadiin nbideu el Qaraia?¨ (When would we start Spanish classes again?)
We have started classes yesterday. North African Islamic women showed up to our first day of classes dressed in their traditional Islamic clothes and among them ¨Fatima¨. She arrived on time and sat in front of the rest of the ladies; in one arm she was holding her little daughter and in the other hand she tightly held a pencil, ready to start classes.