"I love Mankato. It’s like my homeland. When we first came here in 1981, we had a lot of suffering, especially with the kids. We were the darkest people in Mankato and I was the only woman covered. But we found that people in Mankato are very friendly. We love it here."
Safaa has been volunteering for over thirty years to help people from other countries adjust to the culture and customs here. She especially enjoyed working with school children. Somehow, she also made time to complete an MBA degree at MSU.
As a teacher, Safaa uses her hands to prepare papers and write on the board, but she also cooks, sews, helps people, crochets, and knits. "My grandmother taught me to knit and crochet when I was 10 years old. I love art and when I finished high school I was dying to go to art school or sewing school. My mother is a mathematician and she looked at me and said, 'Are you crazy? You want to be an artist or a seamstress?' And she was mad at me. So I went to business school. I hated it but I graduated."
I have my family here now. It is an international family. My brother in Iowa, his wife is American from Wisconsin and they are Catholic. My daughter is married to an American guy but his father is Protestant and his mother and sister are Muslim. They converted. My oldest daughter-in-law is Egyptian, but the second one's father is Lebanese and her mother is Christian. How can I hate people that are different? They are my family."