Hamdi, the smallest kid with the biggest clothes
He was the littlest fellow, with the biggest clothes. Big boots, Big pair of pants and a fleece. However, there was a sparkle in his eyes which showed his desire to play football. There have been two football fields set up on the grassfield of the EKO gas station, 20kms before Eidomeni… Refugees’ Maracana. That time, older children were playing and they were not paying any attention to him. But he really wanted to play. At some point they accepted him to be their goalkeeper. He did not really like it, but at least it was something. In this way, he could play. At some point, at noon, the older guys got tired. They took their ball and left the court. Hamdi, the smallest kid with the biggest clothes stayed alone on the court without a ball to play.
I was sitting on a bench with Justin O’Kines, the Australian camera man of Al Jazeera. We were waiting for some guys for an interview. Mohammed Adow, Al Jazeera’s journalist, was waiting in the car writing an article. Hamdi came close to us. He was trying with gestures to invite us to play with him. “Me, you and the other guy. Come play ball”, he said. “Where is the ball?”, we asked him. He shrugged. There was no ball. Justin and I decided to buy him one. I went into the EKO store and I asked for a ball. The owner gave me one which had Barcelona’s colors. “How much does it cost?”, I asked. “Is it for the kids? It is a gift from me”, he answered.
I went out holding the ball. I called Hamdi and showed it to him. His face beamed. Suddenly, an older child came and grabbed the ball from my hands. I vainly yelled at him. He was running away holding the ball in his hands. Justin run after him and got the ball. We gave it to Hamdi. He run to hide it in his tent. After a while, no one was around the field so Hamdi got timidly out of his tent. When he realized that he was alone, he held the ball tightly and started
The Derby started. Justin , Mohammed, who left what he was writing and came to play with us, and I made the boy’s dream come true. He was Messi, Ronaldo and any football player he wanted to be. He was running, dribbling, shooting and anything he could imagine. The only thing that he did not want to be is a goalkeeper. He was holding Mohammed’s hand to make him the goalkeeper when we told him it was his turn. This was Hamdi’s, best day ever since he arrived with his family at the EKO gas station.