Raul Parfio Alex Queity

To those who still have doubts, these photos clarify everything.

It tells a love story I have witnessed, in Ghana, two years ago. I baptized Raul when I found him working in Lake Volta. As a slave, he had no name because he was sold by his own parents for less than € 5, aged 3.

The fisherman he belong has told him to move away from white people because, if they find him, would ‘skin him alive’. This was the way found by the fisherman to keep Raul away from the ‘Touch a Life Kids’ rescue team, justifying the shown terror when we approach the boat he used to work in.

I took this picture myself and I remember it has if it were yesterday. What impressed me most wasn’t his panic, but the lack of brightness in his eyes. Why did it impress me so? Because I knew that it was possible to calm him down, treat his health, dress him with new clothes and send him to school. However, I was afraid that it could be impossible to recover his brutally stolen childhood. The most difficult was getting over the trauma of maltreatment and exploitation, for so many years. The most difficult was recovering that spark in the eyes, which only happy children have.

Today, contemplating the second photo, I have no doubt we succeed, only possible through donations like yours, allowing Mama Pam to guarantee food, health, scholarship and a happy childhood.
I don’t know exactly for which project the money you raise goes. It can be used to buy bicycles, school uniforms, copybooks, books, food or even helping in the construction of a new school… The truth is that, in the end, your money will make all the difference and grant these children’s eye spark! In their name, I wish to thank you.
In 2007, three months after returning to Ghana and rescuing first 3 children with George help (Queitey, Osmand and Isaac), I got a letter with this photo of the little Queitey that, hardly knew, would change all my life.
My first reaction was of a presumption that today constrains and heavily embarrasses me. I confess, here and now, stripped of everything, before everyone, that my ego lead me to believe Queitey had dedicate the painting to me. I felt touching that he, aged 6 at the time, spent his painting class time to carefully draw the enslaver boat, as he painted, with Portuguese National flag colors, the rescuer orphanage, due to scholar education.
Everything on the painting seems to be dedicated to me… even my name, placed next to his own, combining the words ‘Alex Queitey’. My name is Alexandra but usually my friends call me Alex and, in Ghana, to make the communication easier, I told everyone my name was Alex.
Didn’t spend any time to analyze the painting with my heart, I was only trying to catch it with my eyes. So, I decided to call Ghana to thank Queitey (at the time he didn’t speak English, only his little village dialect) for such a big gift. I confess I was flattered and proud of my little boy and it was urgent to say it to him.

At the orphanage ‘Village of Hope’, a kind of a hope village where some ‘adoptive parents’ and a educator couple are responsible for a house where 10 children live, a teacher answered me. I was in a hurry asking him to give a big kiss and a hug to little Queitey, because the paint, so kindly dedicated to me. Surprised, the teacher assured me that he would what I was asking, but took the chance to enlighten me: – Queitey didn’t dedicate you the painting. He signed the painting. – Signed the painting?! – I shout, surprised – Yes, he signed the painting. As you know, after your leaving, we went again to the doctor with the children. To open the clinic record it’s necessary to have first name and surname and, as Queitey is a surname, I asked him to choose a first name. He promptly said ‘Alex, like the white woman’! I froze! Keep silent for a long period, without paying attention to the teacher, who repeatedly try to reestablish the communication: ‘hello, hello, hello…’. My world came down with such a huge gesture of generosity from my little hero. Alex Queitey made me the more honorable homage I received ever. Quietly, with his timidity, he left me so embarrassed that I couldn’t say a word. – Tell him that I love him! – was the only thing I managed to say, before disconnecting and dive in a deep pain and a resistant cry.

THANK YOU for not remain indifferent because (please believe this), what you have done was writing a new love story!

Alexandra Borges, Journalist


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