March 2017
The Shankmans (Stew, Alex, Jonah (9) and Serena (6)) visited the Almadni family for a few hours on Saturday afternoon and mostly discussed St. Patrick’s Day and ate soda bread and corn on the cob. We talked to Nawar and Talal about Mohammed and school. It sounds like there is no ESL program, but Mohammed does have several friends who speak Arabic and are helping him to translate the teacher. Talal has applied for some jobs and has a promising lead near the airport. We brought a bunch of readers and everyone in the family practiced with them. They did great! We asked about the broken TV but they insisted it was fine.

April 2017
Since the Almadanis now have a car and it was a nice day, we suggested we meet at a cool playground downtown called Mary Bartelme. The family has a little visitor, five year old Hassan, who is staying with them while his mother is in the hospital. The kids ran around together and had a blast, and we showed the adults the Willis Tower. The adults’ English is improving a ton. We were able to converse in English most of the time with only a bit of help from Google Translate. We talked about the different countries that have large populations in Chicago, including Poland and Mexico, and how Spanish is almost a second language in the U.S. Talal has started his factory job and he’s working 40 hours a week on the north side of Chicago. The children have two months left of school. M is doing better, although B is still out in front. All three are doing well in math, but M and E are still struggling with their English. A is apparently getting solid care at Rush, although N commented that “Alaa will never be really good.” We took that to mean that they are doing the best they can for her. A hung out with everyone at the playground and seemed happy and not in distress.

We really enjoyed our time with them and plan to have them out to our house in Oak Park for a BBQ next month.

Here are some photos from our recent visits:

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