(cont. Searching for Santa in Lapland)
A stopover in my adored Istanbul was the only highlight in my dull expedition to East Africa. Upon arrival to Addis, the thrill of living without a plan stimulated my mind and raised my awareness. I directed my steps immediately to the orphanage, where I could deliver “Santa’s supplies” to Hanna, the Volunteer Coordinator. She greeted me cheerfully, while receiving the donations given by the goodhearted Oulu people. I asked her whether I could hand over personally one of the toys to Dani, to what she gently approved.
Daniel Abraham is an eight year old boy, who has lived almost all his life in the orphanage. He is in the “Special Needs” pavilion and is affected by a cerebral palsy and possibly a tumor in his head. The result of them is the left side of his body paralyzed and regular epilepsy attacks. However, Dani is a brilliant kid, and the only one in the pavilion who is not mentally disabled.
During our months together, Dani and I have slowly walked from his dorm to the babies’ pavilion, his favourite place in the orphanage. There he crawls from one room to another, saluting the staff and the babies by their names, often screaming from happiness, and at times singing aloud and playing drums with any toy he may encounter on his way. Dani is capable of walking with my support or the support of any other person who may be willing to share some time, a valuable commodity often disregarded. However, support and time might help Dani be self-dependent one day, as he is mentally fit.
When I entered the pavilion and greeted the assistants, Dani heard my voice and immediately hung down from his bed. Crawled towards me and hugged and kissed with the usual warmth and tenderness he had been doing it for the last months. At that moment I felt I had finally arrived home.
*Dani says hello to “Santa” in Oulu.