By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, February 23, 2012
Every time I go on holiday, I usually pay my hometown, Tafraout, a visit, for it is the place where I feel more at home, particularly when I meet and see my relatives, old friends, and the students I studied with and played with during my schooldays.
Recently, to my utter dismay, I discovered that the fact that the best people are in the worst places and the worst people are in the best places holds true. I discovered so while I was strolling in Tafraout and meeting my ex-classmates who were doing different jobs for their living.
The first old friend of mine whom I met by chance has now become a blacksmith. He was dressed in red and his hands and face were all covered with patches of black grease. His clothes smelt of something like charcoal. I came closer to him until he recognized me and we hugged each other warmly. I talked to him for some time and couldn’t help remembering how intelligent and hard-working a student he was through all the years I studied with him.
This friend usually outshined me in class. At the time, I saw in him a doctor or an engineer. All our teachers paid him compliments for his excellent work at school. As soon as he got his his school diploma, he went to university and came back home, despondent about his dreams.
He found out that the university did not live up to his expectations. I was on the verge of crying when I saw him a blacksmith, not a doctor or an engineer as I had imagined. I did not know how and why he came to end up doing this job. I did not dare to ask him why as I was afraid of mortifying him. When I bade him goodbye, I instantly remembered that he was a good student who turned out to land a bad job.
A few days later, I called another excellent ex-classmate of mine so as to see him and see how life has been treating him. He invited me to his shop where he worked as a shopkeeper. His father used to be a shopkeeper, too. We hugged each other and had a long conversation. We brought back memories of our schooldays. I reminded him of some teachers, bad and good ones. We laughed heartily; I asked him about his life and he said that he liked his job. However, I felt that he regretted many things, but he chose not to impart them to me as had been his habit long ago.
The position of shopkeeper is a noble one, but I don’t think it would suit this friend who masters French and English remarkably well and who used to excel greatly in his studies at high school. At the time, I would see in him a teacher of French. As a student, he used to write and speak excellent French. He would have done greatly if he had pursued his studies after his second year at the faculty when he dropped out and started his little business. I did not have the courage to ask him why he had chosen that job, but knowing that good people sometimes land bad jobs withholds me from posing any more questions.
I heard that another ex-classmate of mine has now become a carpenter and I went to see how he is leading his new life. This friend used to rank first at school and was one of the most brilliant students along my schooldays. He is now a B.A. holder in economy, but he has chosen to return to his hometown and help his father with carpentry. His father has got a shop where they do carpentry, and now this friend is in charge of the shop.
Being familiar with this friend, I asked him why he didn’t apply for a white-collar job; in response, he said that he earned more as a carpenter than as a white-collar worker. All my teachers appreciated and encouraged this ex-classmate at that time. They usually resorted to him to serve as a model for his peers whenever they want to present something new to us.
I must admit that there were times when I wished I had been like him. Now, things have changed, and this man is now a carpenter despite the fact that he used to be a brilliant student who surpassed all his peers.
On the other hand, I also met underachievers who never cared about studies at that time, but who have now become high school teachers and primary school ones. Some have even gone out to become M.A. holders. I very well know a new primary school teacher who was notorious for cheating during exams. He rarely prepared for the exams, and he usually did his best to get the average either by begging his teachers for marks or by begging his classmates to provide him with answers. Over time, he demonstrated in Rabat and was hired in the mountains next to his home. This friend used to be a bad student who has now turned out to be in a good place.
There is another friend who was known to have ranked among the last students. Yet, he always did his best to get the average so as to succeed during all this schooldays. This had been his habit for many years until he obtained M.A.. He was immediately recruited among the next yearly intake of M.A. holders. Now, he is a prestigious official. This friend reminds me of all the underachievers who have now become policemen, officers, managers in some companies, judges, etc. The latter used to be underachievers who have now turned out occupying the best jobs. Sometimes, I can’t help considering the fact that I could have been in danger of either among the two classes of people described above.
Omar Bihmidine is high school teacher of English. He obtained his Associate Degree at Choaib Eddoukali University in 2008. His writings take the form of short stories, poems and articles, many of which have been published in Sous Pens magazine, in the ALC magazine in Agadir, and in the late Casablanca analyst newspaper .
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