Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Visit to Aviston Elementary School

Iraqis Share Culture, Entertain Kids at Local School     
Thirty minutes is not much time to get across an entire culture, but a couple of Iraqis gave it a try last week and entertained some kids in Aviston along the way.

Sadeq Hamid Shnaishel, 24, and Sarbast Maheed Rashid, 23, told the kids at Aviston Elementary School about their country of Iraq and what they are doing in America.

Sadeq and Sarbast are two of the six interns in the first ever U.S. State Department Iraqi Internship Program. They are studying how telecommunications works at AT&T in St. Louis. They have been here about a month and will stay through the end of April, talking to people, learning and traveling.

Marisa Giller, a spokeswoman from Fleishman-Hillard, which is helping publicize the Iraqis' visit, said the two have been appearing at groups and schools in the St. Louis area whenever possible. "They are stars," she said. "Everyone loves them. They have a great time." 

They were in Aviston at the invitation of Dennis Rakers, an Aviston native who works for AT&T.
Sadeq lives in Baghdad but says he has never been in harm's way. "We are safe, but you do have to worry," he said. "You hear the noise." 

When asked why the war was still going on, he said he was puzzled as well. "That's a hard one," he said. "I guess because there are so many dumb people. We really are a peaceful nation."

The two young men talked about what they do for fun, showed pictures of the scenery in Iraq and of their families. Sarbast is from Erbil, which is a large city in the country's Kurdish region which is semi-autonomous.

He showed pictures of mountains and snow. "It gets colder than St. Louis,” he said. Rakers challenged the men to shoot basketball free throws and said they were learning American sports. But Sadeq had a question for the kids: "Why do they call it football when you don't touch the ball very much with your foot?" he asked.

This article was written by Zia Nizami from BND.com 

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