Eric Lafforgue has been traveling for a long time. He’s been to a lot of places, so it’s hard to surprise him with anything now. But he would always remember his recent trip to Ethiopia.
Eric met a strange boy near one of the pubs. The traveler decided to talk to the child to find out more about him. The boy’s name is Abash, and he lives in a shack not far from the restaurant, where Eric Lafforgh later went to check on him. The child’s eyes are a strange sky blue color because of a genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome.
This strange thing happens to only about one in 300,000 people. Abash’s parents were scared when he was born, so they thought he was born blind. Because they were poor, they couldn’t pay for a doctor’s visit, so they had to wait many months before they knew the baby could see well.
Then mom and dad realized that blue eyes are not at all a curse, as they had thought at first, but a gift from God! But for the boy himself, being different was a lot of trouble.
Because of the color of his eyes, Abash is often picked on by other kids. Young kids make fun of him by calling his eyes “plastic eyes,” and the boy can’t take it.
When Abash was 8, his parents gave him to his grandmother so that he could live closer to the city where his school is. There was a fire in the hut one night. All of the simple homes and all of the books were burned to ashes.
The grandmother and the boy were lucky that they were able to jump out in time and were not hurt. After this happened, the boy moved to the city because the fire wiped out his already small savings and it was too much for him to buy a bus ticket every day from his grandmother’s village.
Abash felt very bad after he took Eric to his new home. “This place is dirty,” he said in a whisper, pointing to the cardboard box that had become his bed. The boy is crazy about soccer and never misses a Barcelona game, which he watches in a nearby restaurant or bar.
Lionel Messi is the boy’s hero, and Abash can’t get enough of him. “We are a lot alike. We’re both different from everyone else!” said the child. The boy wants to be a great football player and spends all of his free time playing football with other boys. Readers all over the world were moved by Eric Lafforgue’s story about a strange boy. Kind people started to help Abash in any way they could, such as by giving him things, food, and school books. Many people hope that Abash’s dream comes true.