Sometimes life paths deserve to be shown , as reminders of what should really matter in our existences.
Ali's story is evidence that at the end of the day, fatality lies in our hands. That between good and evil, helping or harming, the choice is ours.
Ali turned 9 today. 9 years he spent in Ouarzazate's orphanage. Promptly abandonned right after his birth, he started life left in a plastic bag in the middle of the street. He was quickly taken to the local orphanage - the only one in South-East Morocco, managed by the “Basma” association under the authority of health services. The place is always full, but babies usually spend little time there before being adopted.
Ali was different, though. Black skinned and handicapped, he hardly got any attention from potential adopters. Thus Ali saw the children he grew up with leave him, one after another. As he grew older he was still surrounded by babies smiling as they left in welcoming arms.
Just like an animal, left alone in his paddock
As Ali stayed here, whithin the walls of Ouarzazate's orphanage, he became more and more of a burden no one knew how to deal with. No one spoke to him, so he spoke neither arabic nor tamazight. He expressed himself through little high pitched yellings and grabbed the legs of anyone that showed interest in him. To this day all his teeth are decayed, since no one washed them. Ali has weak audition and sight, is illiterate and shows symptoms of severe malnutrition. For all these reasons, he took the habit of smelling anything he wanted to discover, just like an animal, left alone in his paddock. The only occasion he had to leave the building was when he left for a crib. There too he was the tall one, his ears open to the winds, amongst younger children. Every night he went back to sleep between the bars of his small bed. As he was getting seriously over-aged, it was decided he would join the teenage offenders institute in Agadir. That was the closest thing to an adapted stucture that could be found.
Then one day Ali saw someone spend some time with him. Someone that stayed and, most importantly, someone that came back.
Dominique was looking for a child to adopt. She knew maternity for having experienced it 4 times in her life. But with adoption she wanted something different. From France where she lives, she heard about Ali and made the trip to Ouarzazate in order to meet him. Then she felt he was the one.
Heart knows no border nor religion
Since then, she has had all the time required to think through her choice to adopt Ali, despite all his problems. She encountered many obstacles, that almost prevented Ali's happy ending from happening. The recent debate on Kafala and wether it should be open to foreigners came close to blocking the process. Dominique held on, with the help of a tenacious lawyer as well as several other people, in particular within the state administration. People that understood that heart knows no borders nor religion.
2 weeks ago Dominique went to the courthouse to officially pick up Ali. For the first time, he was grinning from ear to ear, his eyes proud as he waved farewell to people and to the grim grey walls of his prison.
Ali and Dominique are now getting ready to leave for France this summer. They might come back in September : Dominique is considering starting a business project in Ouarzazate. Maybe they will stay in France. She is well aware that with Ali, she will have to live hand to mouth. A daily challenge.
When asked why she made such a radical decision, she answers with a sense of evidence :
Dominique knows her choice has to be pragmatic, just as precise as her moves back when she was a fire-fighter, after having worked many jobs. The challenge is bringing Ali to master oral and written communication with the outside world.
The deep reason behind Dominique's choice is merely the need to feel useful, to know she has a role in this world where selfishness and violence are still the norm. Right after he got out in the open, Ali already met human mediocrity. A group of well dressed youth made fun of his limp and spat to him.
Ali noticed nothing, all for the better. Or maybe he did, but already saw everything from human beings. He could care less for these time dusts. He knows he found his key : it's called love, and to him, that is what really matters.
Translated by Samuel Malleviale
Greetings to Douyria Restaurant for hosting the interview
In pictures, by Abdellah Azizi