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Amadou, Amadou (3): Tears, a little girl and a smile..., by Ladyba

15 July 2020, Ladyba

He prayed again for this girl who could have done like all the others who did not even look at him sometimes when they were in their car. He even regretted not having thanked him enough.

The days passed, then the weeks, the months and Amadou got used to his new life. He had no choice anyway. He had moved closer to Demba who was older than him. Demba had promised to protect him, he too had been abandoned here overnight by his mother and Amadou reminded him of his little brother who had died of malaria two years ago. Every morning, they went out together in the streets of the city. Amadou had the impression that his parents had simply abandoned him, he was not happy, he missed his mom, his sisters, his friends, his school; he missed everything. He spent tiring days, and at night he had trouble sleeping because of the mosquitoes, the heat and also the snoring of other children. He regretted his village so much,

Amadou: dad why did you leave me here, is it because of the high cost of food? I would even have agreed not to eat anything anymore to tell the truth here I rarely eat to my hunger, I very often sleep on an empty stomach he thought one day that they were walking Demba and him in a neighborhood close to the daara

“Talibé, ehhh talibé…”, (shouted a voice behind them)

Amadou: I don't like being called like that
Demba: ah boy… what do you expect! We are “Talibés” (said Demba while they stopped believing that this young boy wanted to give them something. He was Demba's age 13)
Young boy: hello I would like to ask you that we play football with my friends who are there…

He reached out a little further where was a group of young people between 10 and 13 years old.

Young Boy: We are 8 and we are missing 2 people for a “Small camp game” just a little.
Amadou: no, we are in a hurry, it was already 4 p.m. and they had not yet reached the payment amount
Demba: Yes, we want to
Amadou: are you crazy? It’s already late. Yesterday I saw how Serigne hit Ibrahima (one of their friend at the daara) because he brought back just 600fcfa. So you can imagine if we show up with 500FCFA… I only have 450FCFA.
Demba: Don't worry, it'll be just for a few minutes
Young boy: where are you coming from? Are you afraid?
Demba: Yes, yes… we are coming! Are you afraid or you don’t know how to play football? (he was mocking)
Amadou: You're wrong…. OK, let’s do it, just one game.
Demba: OK…. I am going to make you cry.

Amadou said to himself why not, he hadn't played for so long and these young people seemed to be very nice. In general the children fled from them just like some adults elsewhere.

The game turned into several hours and Amadou was an excellent player. That afternoon there, they found their childlike soul for a little while and did not pay attention to the time, twilight was approaching and it was when they heard a mother calling one of the kids who were playing with them, shouting at him that “he had to come back that it is already late.” Our two “talibés” stopped their games and rushed to their pots.

They should already have been at their daara 30 minutes ago. In addition with these football games they could not even have had the daily 700 CFA francs that were required.

When they got to the daara, they barely put down their pots when the two big sons of the “Serigne” (19 and 22 years old) jumped on them to ask them where they were until this hour then inflicted a big correction on them because they hadn't brought back enough money and they had been late for the prayer. For Amadou, it was the first time that he had been hit this way and he will remember it all his life.

Waking up was difficult the next day; he left without Demba because he resented him for having convinced him to play. He was walking on the roads between cars, his eyes filled with tears and clothes that barely protected him from the morning cold. He was in front of the front door of a beautiful car and looked with envy at the children who were warm with their dad who brought them to school; he wondered why he hadn't been so lucky, why didn't he deserve to just have a normal childhood.

He dreamed, his head resting on the glass while the red lights was red… when he saw the young girl (her name was Binta and was 1 year younger than Amadou) picking up coins that were in the glove box in front of her:

Dad: Binta what are you doing?
Binta: dad I am picking up the coins to give to the “talibés”
Papa: hey… are you going to give them all of my money?
Binta: but papa you don't need it you already have enough money, he has nothing.
Dad: What are you talking about? I don't need it?
Binta: Whatever… he needs it more than you. Dad, just look how cold it is. He even does not have shoes that are suitable for the cold, look at his T-shirt it is all torn…
Dad: no don’t give him everything, I need these pieces

Binta wasn’t listening to his father and hurriedly gave all the coins to Amadou as the lights turned green.

Amadou had been touched by the gesture of this girl; he threw her "God Bless You" and ran on the sidewalk. He looked at the coins in his hand and counted 1,700 CFA francs. He smiles and thinks it couldn't be better, he had 2 days to pay and could even afford a small meal and rest today given the long night he had spent. He prayed again for this girl who could have done like all the others who did not even look at him sometimes when they were in their car. He even regretted not having thanked him enough.

What he didn't know is that in a few years he will be able to give him the change for the coin...

“A smile costs less than electricity, but gives as much light” Smile, smile at these little angels show them that they exist!
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