Abu Sa’ad

This is Abu Sa’ad. We recently met in the Old City of Jerusalem. He initiated our meeting by doing a few things that no one has ever done to me in the Old City: First, as I was chimping the photos I had just shot, he stuck his head over my shoulder to see what I was looking at. He seemed to appreciate the shots (which may appear here at some point in the future), and gave me an open door to speak.

I tried to use some of my newly acquired Arabic, which went pretty well. I told him that I was learning Arabic and he was happy to engage in small talk with me. Mostly he told me about himself like where and when he was born: His identity card says he was born in 1926, though he insists it was really 1925. He also showed me his business card and made a little more small talk before moving along.

When he was about 25 yards from me, it dawned on me that he was going the same way I was going, and that I might be able to get up ahead and snipe a shot of him. So I gathered my things and tried to get ahead of him.

However, I attracted his attention as I tried to pass him in the narrow alley, and he started to talk to me again. Then he did the second thing that has never happened to me in the Old City: He asked me if I wanted to take his picture. In elementary Arabic, I clarified if he had just asked if I wanted to take his picture. I had understood him correctly, and happily said yes. He struck a pose and waited patiently as I made a few adjustments and openly took the shots I had hoped to snipe.

After I took the photos, we continued to walk together for about 5 minutes. As we talked, he revisited the year of his birth with me, even showing me his identity card to verbally correct the date that was shown there. I asked him where he was going and found out that he prays at Al Aqsa Mosque every day. I asked how many times he prays there each day, but his answer was long and drawn out and not understood by me. We talked about the prayer beads he was carrying, but I didn’t really understand what he said about them either. I did the best I could, but didn’t understand much of what was said. However, I did enjoy seeing that the new words I was using were understood by my new friend.

I hope that as my language skills improve, I’ll see Abu Sa’ad again. I’m sure he is filled with interesting stories, and I want to understand some of them.


  1. This is a really nice photo, the lighting, his stance.

  2. dannyfrese says

    Awesome picture, Craig.

  3. Mindy and Danny,


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: