Two would-be friends met on a rooftop in Nazareth and the rest of the world had no idea. Yes, there was ice cream involved. No, language barriers did not stop them nor were they present. The two were Fadi Abu Khadra and Salvador Blanco, current students at the University of North Alabama.
“We got together that night and got to answer all of [Fadi’s] questions about UNA,” Blanco said. “It was an automatic friendship.”
Having met Salvador and several others back home, Fadi had the right to assume they would welcome him when he started as a freshman at the university. His suppositions did not betray him. Fadi and Salvador have continued their friendship on campus. After recalling that day, Blanco wrote this in his journal:
“It was unreal to to think that Fadi was coming to Florence and that he would become a close friend!” Blanco said. “
Abu Khadra is the first Arab-Israeli student to ever attend the University of North Alabama. He has not to forgotten where he comes from, though.
“[I am] Palestinian by blood, Israeli by nationality, Arab by race, and Christian by religion,” Abu Khadra said.
The name Fadi means sacrificer in Arabic. Abu Khadra speaks three languages, and it weighs heavy no matter the dialect. He knows the impact he wants to make on the UNA campus.
“I need to make sure that I give the best appearance of my country, of where I come from, because I’m the only one here,” Abu Khadra said.
Blanco spends plenty of time with his new friend, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Abu Khadra had a place by his side the moment they met and Blanco is glad he initially opened his heart up to the opportunity. Blanco continued in his journal:
“Now, he is at my house in Florence,” Blanco said. “I can’t wait to see what God has planned for our friendship.”
Abu Khadra even recalls what flavor of ice cream the two were savoring when their friendship began.
“Vanilla with Oreos,” Abu Khadra said.