Reunions
After 20 years of searching, author reunites with his teacher who taught him English
She changed his life when he was 7 years old.
Michael Dabu
08.23.22

We owe our teachers a decent portion of what we have turned out to be in our lives, don’t you agree? However, to some people, their teachers played a pivotal role in their success simply because they went above and beyond their profession.

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One of them is Jamil Jan Kochai – a student who knew not even a single word before.

Humble beginnings.

According to his own story which he shared on Facebook, Jamil first came to the US when he was just 1 and a half years old. Although they’re residing in America, he grew up in a household that only used Pashto and Farsi languages. That made a huge impact when he started kindergarten because he didn’t know any English words, not even one.

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Sadly, his kindergarten had no idea how to handle an ESL student because instead of understanding his situation, his teacher punished him for not knowing the English language.

Life was hard before for them because his father needed to look for better jobs and housing. This resulted in them moving a lot during those difficult times and Jamil being transferred to three different schools in just one year.

Because of this setup, Jamil continued to struggle with English. After finishing first grade, his family went back to Afghanistan and spent their summer there. After falling in love with Logar (a province in Afghanistan), he realized that all the English words he learned in school were completely gone in his head.

Start of a new beginning.

Jamil recalled remembering only 10 letters from the English alphabet, it’s not ideal for a foreign 2nd grader like him. He was totally behind his classmates and he found coping troublesome since English wasn’t really his first language.

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He felt hopeless until he met Mrs. Lung, the person who was about to change his life. The kind teacher gave Jamil extra lessons about reading and writing in English so he could catch up with the rest of the class. She did it outside her teaching hours and did it almost every single day.

Mrs. Lung wasn’t just a teacher to him, he was his life-changer.

Jamil eventually learned how to write and read English and as a fruit of his eagerness to learn, he won a couple of awards for reading comprehension. Soon after, Jamil’s family moved a few times more and he lost track of Mrs. Lung.

The search is ON!

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During his high school and college years, he did his best in trying to find Mrs. Lung.

“I searched google and social media,” he wrote in his Facebook post. “I called my old school and visited the district office. But I kept hitting dead ends. The main problem was that I didn’t know Mrs. Lung’s first name! She’d always just been Mrs. Lung to me. In my mid-20s, I’d pretty much given up on the search. I figured Mrs. Lung had moved on to a new state, a new life.”

Jamil just wanted to thank his kind teacher for going above and beyond her job description. He really thought he would never be able to say or show his appreciation to Mrs. Lung not until when his book called ’99 Nights in Logar’ was released just a few years back.

Out of nowhere, someone messaged him on social media.

His name is Allen Lung, Mrs. Lung’s husband! As fate would have it, Mr. Lung heard about an article that Jamil wrote for LitHub where he mentioned his grade school teacher. They immediately set a call and tears started rolling down Jamil’s cheeks when he finally had the chance to talk to Mrs. Lung again.

He told Mrs. Lung that he owed her everything that he accomplished in life. Because of her undying patience and sacrifice, he reached his full potential and became a book author. Unfortunately, the pandemic was on the way to their reunion, however, they promised to meet in person one day.

Jamil and Mrs. Lung finally met again during the reading of the former’s second book called ‘The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories.’ The two hugged, chatted, and had dinner together. Jamil also signed his former teacher’s book and they also exchanged numbers.

This beautiful story only proves the impact an educator could do on the lives of her students.

Watch the video below to know more about Jamil’s second book called ‘The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories.’

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Michael Dabu
[email protected]
Michael Dabu is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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