“Marna maduqoobaysid. It means ‘never too old’ in Somali. . . .I want to learn. I want to talk to American people. I want to take bus. I want (to) shop. To get medicine, to talk to doctor.” Thus began an interview by Ruben Rosario from the St. Paul Pioneer Press with Hassan Sahal, January 30, 2007.
Hassen began taking English classes at Learning in Style. And he was 93 at the time. He was the oldest student we’ve every had. For three years he was with us at Calvary Baptist Church on Blasidell and then in our present school on Nicollet Avenue.
Hassen claimed birth “in the bush” in Somalia where he became a farmer and raised a family. In the civil war family members were killed. He fled to a Kenyan refugee camp and eventually to the U.S. and found his way to us.
Hassen Sahal was a noble man, a gentle man, a gentleman and a lifelong learner and student. In late summer 2016 he returned to his homeland. He wanted to die there and he did – January 23, 2017, at age 103.
May you rest in peace, Hassan.