When night falls
For 18years Yandi has walked a lonely road, mocked ridicule, ostracised, always on the outside looking in hoping and wishing that one day he could just be like his brother and sister. The days are bad enough with the pain that he has to carry, but when night falls that when he crumbles internally, his whole inner sole twists and wrenches as it cries out just to be loved.
Word had drifted into his little village that there were people that might be able to help him. A nun from a neighbouring village had told his aunt that children had been operated on in Tana and they had mentioned that the foundation was returning in a few months, but she would find out more.
Weeks passed, no news, every day as Yandi toiled under the sun, his face wrapped in the shadow of his shawl, he dreamt of a day that some how he could get to Tana and maybe could be helped. Every Sunday on hearing the church bells ringing he would go up to the church and wait to see if there was any news, nothing. It was early in the morning, Yandi was on his way to the forest and his aunt came running up the path calling him, he spun around. All he could hear was, “They are coming back, they are coming back”. “Sister says it’s next week.”
His twisted face broke into a drooling smile, as he leapt into the air and ran to his aunt to embrace her.
The journey to Tana on its own was massive and costly. The family all chipped in and got his fair together. It was a 2 day hike through the edge of the forest, to the nearest town, then a day trip on a rugged 4 x 4 “Taxi Brousse” truck to the city of Fianarantsoa and finally a mini bus taxi to Antananarivo. Operation Smile were back in Tana doing their second series of operations, over 200 children had arrived for help and Yandi was one of them.
Screening day is always the most traumatic, for patients and volunteers, because not everyone can always be helped, some children are turned down for various reasons, and have to be told to wait for the next time. Cleft lips are priority 1 and young children are priority 2. Yandi was 18 he would have to wait. Standing aside, mortified, Yandi just sobbed. His life had crashed around him; his dream lay shattered at his feet, what was left for him?
He walked up to a group of doctors working through the pile of files for admission of surgery the next day and sat down in front of them. Looking down at the floor he quietly he began to relate his story.
For 18 years I have carried this curse, I have managed to survive each day and have worked each day alongside my father, brother and sister. We have laughed together, when my mother passed on, cried together and at night we eat then sleep together. He then quietly sobbed.
After every day when night falls, we wash and lie down on the mat to sleep. My father kneels beside my sister, hugs her and kisses her goodnight; he kneels beside my brother and kisses him good night. He then lies down. After a small spell of silence all, all that I hear is my father say “Good night, Yandi”.
Please, please, all that I want is just to be kissed good night by my father, just once.
The surgeon stood up, wiping his eyes and called across the room, “Please get me his file and schedule him in for tomorrow morning”.
Some where on this island, there is a young boy being kissed goodnight by his father this evening. “We’ll make it better”.