Omar Safi, junior: 85,690 minutes remaining

Josephine Mittelberger, Design Chief

With 7:29 p.m. just around the corner, seconds turn to minutes, and minutes turn to hours. Omar Safi, junior, is close to breaking his fast for Ramadan and has to distract himself—setting the table, reading the Quran, going on his phone—to make time stop ticking by so slowly.
Having participated in Ramadan since he was 12, this concept is not new. As the years have passed, the difficulties of fasting have faded and Omar gets to focus on what Ramadan is truly about.
“When I was really young, out of perspective, I thought it was more about being vigilant,” he said. “But during Ramadan we fast because we want to feel how the less fortunate feel. As I grew up, I started to recognize how people were dealing with these hardships. So I try to feel how they feel, and just experience what they’re going through.”
With Ramadan following a lunar calendar, it has only begun to take place during the school year as Omar was in middle school. During his fasting through the school day, he has always had to sit in the cafeteria, watching everyone else eat. This year, Mrs. Laflech opened her doors to students fasting, aware of how difficult it can be to fast in unfamiliar or uncomfortable settings.
As years have passed with Omar gaining knowledge through his parents and mosque, Ramadan has given him many opportunities to bond with others on a multitude of levels. With friends fasting alongside him during difficult times—like during track when his fast is about to break and all there is to eat is a date before he has to run—and with family being there at the end of the day to break his fast with, Omar has been able to grow and appreciate what Ramadan has to offer.
“There was one specific time when I was maybe 13, I was with my family and they came over but the power had gone out,” Omar said. “So we were just sitting in the dark all throughout the day and eventually it came back on. It was time to break our fast and we stayed up all night, talking, hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.”