Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ramzi the #1 Chewing Gum Salesman in Jordan University

This is a true story, that I've witnessed during my university years... it started sometime around 1998... his name was Ramzi, I would never forget for he crafted his name so neatly on that notebook... his journey probably started at the tender age of Seven...

He used to hold his tiny box of half full SB Gum, a box that looked a bit too large for his small hands... He would look you in the eye for a second, smile and walk those tiny steps in the hope that you would buy the product he is promoting, (his innocence and compassion)...

He was different, he was polite, never said a bad word... a kid selling chewing gum... At days you would see him running away from university guards, who used to kick them out and confiscate his tiny box... his tiny source of livelihood...

Ramzi grew up in a university surrounded by young men and women who knew him well, some hated the way he looked, some loved his spirit... I clearly remember the day when one of those young men bought him a present... An empty notebook, a pencil, a rubber and a couple of other things and told him: "you should learn how to read and write and I will help you do it... but you have to promise me one thing... commitment"

You could see the excitement in his eyes, in his smile and you could feel the determination that was about to die... I used to see him sitting on the steps at the "square", beside him was that young man, teaching him, letters and syllables... ooh how he was holding that notebook so dearly and crafting the letters of his own name... He could have become a great Calligraphist, he had the most beautiful writing... And you could tell he was proud of the letter "Ra" in Arabic...

His eyes lit up at words of encouragement, you could hear him say "I want to learn writing and reading in English as well!... and math I want to know how to calculate what I sell and what money I should have :)"

But Alas, as time passed by, you could no longer see the young man sitting with him on the steps... you could no longer see the notebook nor the pencil... it ended as it started... it was just another story that would never be told...

Ramzi, didn't learn much... just a few letters and numbers and his own name... he grew up to become less of a gentleman with each passing year, but you could tell this man was different...

I was with that young man who once became known as the teacher of a young chewing gum seller, when I saw Ramzi a few years ago in the pedestrian tunnel just outside the university's main gate... Ramzi's small box of chewing gum is now different, its a larger wooden box with tissues, cigarette lighters, and lots of other things... He has changed, grew up in size but his smile was the same, it started and ended in his eyes... The excitement he felt when he saw his teacher was unbelievable... they shook hands had a small talk...

Ramzi was still kind at heart, you could feel it... A teenager with a cigarette, who insisted on buying his teacher a cup of coffee, a generous teenager who never forgot that one day both of them tried to conquer the world... and dared to live a dream... that someday, Ramzi would read the newspaper out loud to his teacher...

14 comments:

Mohanned said...

Nice story man, Did you go the JU? You know why I sometime feel this burn in my heart, because this jordanian must have his chance..

M Kilany said...

It's sad, but this kid's father is putting him in this position... the father was selling at a "basta" just outside the university... and he doesn't want his kids to go to school!?

AlurduniAlurr said...

Kilany ,,Very moving story,whate a shame,he could have been a good teacher, if the government and the society gave him a chance to learn and grow intellectually ,I have seen 1000 of our children that are neglected and outcast in the streets of Jordan,trying to make a living for their families ,the story of Ramz's can be multiplied by 1000.
Do you have an idea what he is doing now days?

Mohanned said...

Kilnay and urduni,
I hope that you understand where I come from when I make you mad:P
Shouldn't this jordanian kid and hundereds of thousands of poor jordanians have the priority in getting a decent education and a decent life? Why don't we fix ourselves then we can look at other people, even in islam the "aqraboon awla bel ma3roof".

I hope one day we can see all jordanian kids have equal opportunities in education and decent life.

Thanks.

M Kilany said...

urduni,
I have no idea where Ramzi is right now... but I'm thinking of visiting Jordan University soon to check it out..

Mohannad,
We look at this from different angles, I think that even if Ramzi was an Iraqi or a Palestinian, Chechen or Morrocan... I would still want better conditions for him... I hope someday, all the other Arab nations will feel the same way...

Bilalٍ said...

Great Story Abu Kilany, you are a great writer, seriously.

Now, if this Americans turned this story into a film, Ramzi will continue his studies until he graduate from School of Engineering or Medicine, he will make a speech and thnak his teacher in it, with great musicin the background.
If Indians turned this into a film, Ramzi would continue eduaction, join Police, Doscover the his teacher is a head of criminal gang, hund him down and then doscoiver that he is his real father.LOL
I had to write that abu kilany, forgive me:)

M Kilany said...

Bilal.... LOL LOL LOL

Anonymous said...

MK, this was really touching. It should be published, really. Submit it to JO, ot "iMagazine" and see what happens! If they don't accept it, at LEAST send it to Ramsey at www.7iber.com. :)

M Kilany said...

Hi Kinzi,
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement... I'm really flattered... It never crossed my mind to publish at JO or iMagazine... and to tell you the truth I don't have any connections there... but I think I just might send it out...

M Kilany said...

& I was just visiting 7eber... interesting!

Anonymous said...

MK, that is how I started out as a writer, someone encouraged me. Nick at JO is a great editor and works with you to improve, as well.

7iber is interesting, yes?

M Kilany said...

I'll see if I can get through to him...

Anonymous said...

MK very nice story. SB ist sharawi chewing gum am i right.

M Kilany said...

Anon,

Yes it is... the red and yellow one :)