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My Young Life

by Saad Al Dulaimi

I entered primary school when I was 6 years old. My school was called Al Maaref Elementary School for Boys and it was located in the capital of Iraq, Baghdad, in the city of Zafaraniyah. It is still in the same place in this city. I used to love my school and love to study.

My father was from the blue collar class. He was a worker in a soft drink factory in Baghdad. My father encouraged me to study and get a good future in order to help him and succeed in my future. That is why I worked hard in my lessons and did my homework one day before it was due. The teachers used a stick to beat and discipline the students who neglected the homework and this frightened me. I was avoiding and avoiding the teacher’s punishment. At that time, the teachers and students loved me for my diligence in studying and completing the homework in a timely manner.

After I finished primary school, I felt that I had built a good character and I received the respect of teachers and students. They honored me with a box of dates as a gift and I took them and ate them in the evening with my parents, brothers, and sisters. My mother said to me, ”Saad, you are very clever, you did not disappoint me and I pray to God to protect you.” At that time, our house was small and not big enough for us. It was difficult for us to buy a house due to our poor financial situation, but my father decided to sell our small house and buy land in the city of Al-Ghadir in New Baghdad and set up a tent where we lived.

In the meantime, I started middle school for boys,called Al-Jamahir Intermediate School for Boys. When I came back from school, I would first do the homework and then help the workers who were building our house. It took 3 years to build our house, and during that time I completed the intermediate school successfully and graduated with a very good degree. Here, at the end of the school year and completing the construction of our house, I felt happy, as I made an academic effort for a better future for myself, as well as in order to help my father pay off the mortgage loan.

After school vacation, I went to study at the upper secondary school called Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, located in New Baghdad, which was about the same distance from our house as my current home is from the Adult Learning Center. My studies began and here I felt that my father was burdened with debts. To save money, I decided to go to school on foot. I had to leave our house an hour before the start of school. In addition, I decided not to buy food from school. My mother used to put barley bread in my school bag to stave off my hunger. After graduating from high school successfully with a very good degree, I rejoiced. My father, mother, sisters and brothers were happy. We gathered around a special dinner at home to celebrate. Then, after that, I went to study at the Air Force Academy and here began another story