I was their American Dream ni Malaka Gharib

Katatapos ko lang basahin ang kwento ng buhay ni Malaka Gharib, pinamagatang “I was their American Dream” – isa sa mga pinakamagandang libro na nabasa ko lately, Mang Boy.

Lumaki si Malaka sa Cerritos, pugad ng mga Kapinoyan sa SoCal – siyudad na malapit sa aming puso, dahil ito’y parati naming pinupuntahan upang kumain sa Salo-Salo Grill. Natutuwa ako na isinulat niya ang kwento ng buhay niya bilang anak ng mga imigranteng Pinoy at Egyptian ng may lambing, pag-ibig at buong katapatan.

Napasaya rin ako na may kahalong pagmamalaki – ang kanyang kwento at ang mga kwento ng kanyang imigranteng pamilya ay kwento ko rin. Sa wakas nakabasa rin ako ng libro tungkol sa buhay ng isang tao sa Amerika, kung saan naintindihan, hindi lamang ng utak ko, ngunit ng kailaliman din ng aking puso.

Maraming salamat, Malaka.

Pag-ibig sa Panahon ng Corona

nakatira kami sa isang bahagi ng hilagang texas na nasa gitna ng dalawang county – dallas at collin. sa dallas county, mayroon shelter-in-place order, sa collin eh bahala ka sa buhay mo.

nakakalito para sa mga residente, mang boy. mapanganib din, siyempre, lalong-lalo na doon sa mga hindi nakaka-alam kung uurong o susulong. ngunit ito ang aming katotohanan – na ang pagtugon ng mga lungsod sa mga problema ay idinidikta ng partidong pampulitika at hindi ng agham.

tantiya ko, mga isa o dalawang buwan mula ngayon, malalaman natin ang mga resulta ng eksperimentong panlipunan na ito. sana, ang texas ay nasa sapat na kalooban ng amerika na pakikinggan ni baby jesus ang mga panalangin ng mga naniniwala sa himala na hindi malaki ng epekto ng corona virus, at kaunti lang ang mamamatay.

Mr Gabertan, my High School Teacher

I would like to express my condolences to the Gabertan family. Mr. Gabertan was my high school history and economics teacher. It’s no exaggeration to say – he made a difference in my life and made me a better person.
 
In 1983, during my senior year at Notre Dame of Manila, he picked me to be a member of the debating team. I don’t know why. I wasn’t that smart and there were many others worthier who could have done a much better job. But he chose me. I accepted and we prepared for months for THE big debate that was to highlight History Week at school.
 
The topic was very obscure – “Resolved: Japan be re-armed”. I don’t know why he chose it. For one, Japan’s rearmament was not that popular even then and it was difficult to do the research. Perhaps he wanted us to really work harder at it, and we did – during that long arduous stretch, he thought me how to do the research, be prepared, organize my thoughts, turn them into words, and speak with confidence in front of large groups of people. Skills, I still use to this day.
 
I remember my teacher, Mr Gabertan, with so much fondness. Gabby we called him, a word play of sorts, Gabby Conception was popular during that time. I love you sir, thank you for changing my life.
 
Sincerely,
Nick David, NDM 83
 
PS. I found a school paper interview with Mr Gabertan attached. It just shows how good a teacher he is – during that time, the faculty was being sued by the school for libel and yet they still went about doing their jobs.