— Where is EFTU? — I ask when I enter the pediatric ward of the hospital.
The Astro King announces a new day for the luckiest, for others will be the last. Hundreds of mothers with their children expect to be visited. I haven't stopped to count them. I'm too worried in search of EFTU.
"Where is EFTU?—, ask again."
I think of EFTU. At night I could hardly reconcile the dream. He closed his eyes and appeared with complete clarity his gaze. I woke up. I lit a candle, because the light was gone, I grabbed a notebook and started writing. I began to write what I felt, the anguish, the rage, the impotence... I can't get out of my head the first time I saw him, coming through the door, in his mother's arms, gravely ill. I could scarcely fix myself on the mother; My eyes focused on the little boy who looked without seeing.
EFTU had a half-moribund appearance, two or perhaps three years of life, but with no strength to stand. His mother held him in his lap, looking sad, lost, almost hopeless, almost... I still had some hope. I remember how I took a three-color, red, yellow and green metered tape and put it on top of the arm to measure the brachial perimeter and evaluate the nutritional status. Adjusted the tape to the little arm and read the trembling result. Red and 8.2 centimeters, that was the result. EFTU presented severe acute malnutrition.
As I we examined it, a yellowish liquid wet all my white robe. I thought I peed, but the mother told me it wasn't urine, it was feces. EFTU had a diarrhea that was water. You could hardly differentiate the urine from the feces. Urine faeces call you. The situation of EFTU is agonizing.
This deplorable situation, favored by extreme weakness as a result of not having eaten decently ever, was caused by diarrhea, probably from drinking contaminated water. Avoidable. All avoidable. Why does it happen? Why?
Why? I wonder without finding an answer in me. Silence accompanies me as I walk their lives with my mind. Finally, I hear a faint answer, the one who suspected but did not want to hear:
— He's dead.
My heart's freezing. I can't accept that. I don't want to.
Suspicion is confirmed. He died of a preventable illness, died when he didn't have to die, died when he had his whole life ahead of him. EFTU could have gone to school, could have studied medicine, could have worked here healing his people. Could have lived... He died of social injustice.
But he's dead.
I am overwhelmed by a feeling of anger, impotence... That I would not wish anyone. I don't understand anything. I don't know what to do. The situation is beyond me. I know that... I can't be the same again. I can't stay indifferent. I cannot allow children to continue dying when they should not die, for illnesses that have cure, treatment, prevention.
Something needs to be done.
I can do it.
I'm going to.
This is where my story begins.
I didn't know it yet, but my life was going to change.
So they can have history, so they can write their story.
I was born to
I was born in 1985. I was more likely to be born in Africa than in Europe, but I was born in Europe. God only knows why.
I was more likely to be born in Ethiopia than in Spain, but I was born in Spain. God only knows why.
That made a difference. God only knows why.
I was born in Barcelona on March 29th, 1985. That same day, another child like me was born in Ethiopia, but in the midst of a great famine in the region.
It was born between Adobe Walls. No health care. The mother could have died in childbirth. The child would probably die within a few days.
I was born in Barcelona, in a hospital and in an excellent family. That made a difference. God only knows why.
I have had childhood, a balanced diet, love in the family, friends, I have gone to school even to college. And I'm still alive.
While I was playing carefree, other children would play to survive by looking for food desperately not to die.
While I spit the food, other children had nothing to put in their mouths.
I did nothing to deserve to be born where I was born, to have a great childhood, to live... God only knows why.
I was born where I was born It's a big responsibility. Now it's time to take responsibility. Now play the match.
All children deserve the same opportunities regardless of where they are born, of being born a boy or girl, and of the religion they profess.
Where you're born marks you, but the important thing is what you're born to. What is your mission in life... Only God knows.
I think that when we seek the good and the love of others we can not go wrong.
Was born. I could have been born anywhere in the world.
I was born in the world and for the world.
I was born in... The important thing is not where I was born, but who I was born.
The journey that changed my life
You don't know why, but there are places that come to your soul and fill your life forever. Ethiopia is that place for me. He was a resident of pediatrics at the Granollers Hospital, a city outside Barcelona, when I first stepped on Gambo.
I didn't know yet, but my existence was going to change.
I still remember the day I came to Gambo. A shiver of joy runs through my body every time I think about it.
How do you summarize the experience there? On that occasion I wrote: "It is an incredible experience in every way and in all aspects of life: medical, personal, human and spiritual. Overwhelming. Dazzling. Bright. Shocking. Unforgettable. Binding. Exceptional. Here they share a bed of life and death. "
I could not sleep, I closed my eyes and saw the suffering of Ruziya, Abdulakim... "Once you have given your name to children who starve to death you cannot remain indifferent," I wrote on a piece of paper one of the many sleepless nights in which I could not sleep. He closed his eyes and thought of Mikaeli, Abdul... On how they would be.
He wrote on sleepless nights in a notebook in the light of a small candle. We had No light on many occasions. I wrote to express my anguish, to free myself from it. The role was and is the voice of my soul, my companion who never fails or abandons me.
These therapeutic writings were published in the blog I created for the occasion: cooperation with joy. Today I keep writing, I still need it, I can not get used to the suffering of others. I don't want to get used to it. I overcame the suffering thanks to an excellent reception in Gambo, to the support of the people there, to their friendship. I am grateful to you in infinite ways. Without them it would not have been possible.
I didn't know yet, but Gambo and his people were going to change my life.
This is the story.