88 years old and fluent in four languages, Iraqi offers free English classes

Towards the end of February this year, Henrik Curitiba decided to score a spot in the traditional Ferrinha do Largo da Ordem, holding an improvised sign and offering classes.| Photo: Gerson Kleina / Tribuna do Parana.

When his friend Hikmat (Henrik) Dawood Hanna, 88, went for a walk on Sunday morning, the owner of the apartment that retired Jasira da Silva, 72, who shared with him in Curitiba, never imagined he would see her the next day. A picture of Henrik has been plastered on social media to offer free English classes. Less than the day that seemed so ordinary, one more thing in the routine of two older people, will become news and your cell phone will be full of messages.

Always follow family on Instagram!

This happened when, at the end of February this year, Henrik traditionally decided to score a point. Feira do Largo da Ordem class offers an improvised sign. Her presence at the Church of the Order was noticed by a photographer who clicked and decided to approach her, to satisfy her curiosity about the fact that an older person was offering free English classes. The results of the chat were published on Facebook and this was the reason for the story to go viral.

While focusing on her, Curitibar 37-year-old photographer Franিয়েois Makowski had a bad day. “When I get something like this, I like to go out and activate my photographer’s vision. It was just walking, I didn’t have a camera, but when my eyes crossed the picture of that gentleman, I felt there was something else, “he told the Tribune. “Instead of imagining taking another picture of myself in composition with an older man sitting in Largo, I would rather talk to him. I was very touched by her story and the power of life. With the desire to share knowledge. I decided to post to help find the students and, somehow, give her back the affection she showed to people, “the photographer added.

The following Monday, a friend of Jasira’s went to the social network to show Henrik’s successful post and picture. “For us, it was a surprise. We did not know. My friend said to me: “Look what I got”. On Sundays, he leaves early and goes to the cathedral every month. After the mass, as far as I knew [brinca], He goes to lunch and spends the day at Feira do Largo. At the end of the afternoon, he volunteered at Mesa Solidaria, behind the cathedral, and then returned home, “he told Jasira.

On behalf of the Tribune, Henrik said he did not say anything for fear his friend would be against his initiative. The two had a love affair before. Today they are just friends. “I don’t even use cell phones. I don’t know much about this technology thing. I don’t think everyone will know about it, “he joked, trying to explain himself.

Fluency in four languages

Henrik Hannah Iraqi, born in Baghdad. As a young man, he studied philosophy in Rome, Italy, where he graduated and was 20 years old. In 1973, she moved to Sওo Paulo, became a Brazilian citizen, and married. The nickname Henrik comes from here, due to the similar pronunciation of his Arabic name. In 1990, already a widow, he married Jacqueline and moved to Curitiba. In 2006, he moved to Salvador and only returned to Curitiba in the middle of last year, only to be greeted by his former companion as a friend. “We have a bond that is bigger than a romantic relationship. Help one another take care of themselves, “said Jessera.

Iraqis have learned the language all their lives. Henrique spoke nine languages, including Arabic, English, Italian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Aramaic, Esperanto, and Latin. “But my fluency is in Arabic, English, Italian and Portuguese,” he explained. His career in Brazil was the most diverse. He worked as a translator at an embassy and was an English teacher inside Bahia. During the walk, he traveled across five continents and at least 30 cities around the world.

An order

The decision to give free English lessons is related to a paragraph of the Gospel which says that talent must be shared. “If I keep my talent, it will die with me. So, I want to share knowledge and contribute to the life of someone who can’t afford it, “explained the professor, who has volunteered in churches and associations all his life, whenever he can.

In early March, Henrik began teaching the first students. Without a suitable place to receive students, the elderly person travels to the home of the interested party, without any charge. “I go wherever I have to go,” he insisted. On the day of the interview, around 3pm on Wednesday, Tribune photographer Gerson Kleina gave Henrik a ride to a student’s house. “He was going to be late for our interview, taking the bus to the person’s house in downtown Curitiba. It’s okay to block our way, isn’t it? ”, Kleina points out.

Before her story was reacted to on social media, the only way to “register” to take classes with Henrik was to go to Ferrinha do Largo da Ordem on Sunday, to meet him in person. But thanks to Francielle, Henrik now has an Instagram account with about 12,000 followers, which makes it easier to communicate with him. “I will do my best to help Henrik, even if he finds a place to teach. He is a person who makes a difference in others. I was thrilled with our meeting. The story deserves to be told and shared, “said the photographer.

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