Our Christmas Greetings 2020


Our Christmas Greetings 2020


There was something special about that group of Italians.

They had known each other for a long time, going on training courses together, sharing difficulties and strong emotions. They were still together on the Egyptian holiday that Antonio had offered.

That day in October they were to visit Luxor.

The guide, who was extremely well prepared and professional, informed them of the day's programme, adding: <<A lot of children will come up to you begging for money. Don't give them any. These kids need to understand that it's important to go to school and work for a living. Help us raise our kids>>, he concluded.

The Egyptian driver was sitting on a small wall surrounding a large park full of important archaeological remains.

A group of children circled around the bus, waiting to beg for money from the tourists.

But not AMIR. AMIR was eight years old. He didn't have any parents and, at night, slept in the nearby park.

He carried a large cardboard box under his arm, carefully observed the shoes worn by the Italian tourists who were approaching, ready to get back on the bus.

He was looking at their shoes, but not all of them. AMIR was only interested in black shoes. Yes, because AMIR was a little shoeshiner, but only polished black shoes.

Marco was among a small group of Italian tourists. When he saw AMIR with his big box, Marco understood and politely asked him if he could polish his shoes.

AMIR was happy to get to work. With speed and skill he cleaned Marco's shoes.

AMIR had clever eyes. Life had tested him early on.

Once the job was finished, Marco paid him. AMIR promptly placed the coins in the large box together with his work tools.

Then the rest of the Italians arrived. Luciano was among them.

Luciano had suffered a serious accident as a child, leaving him with only one hand. He didn't see it as a problem, he didn't hide it.

AMIR noticed him and watched carefully as Luciano approached the bus.

<<Why have you only got one hand?>>, asked AMIR.

<<When I was a little boy, I stole something and they cut my hand off>>, Luciano replied, as a joke.

Those who witnessed the scene smiled at Luciano's reply as he got on the bus.

AMIR remained silent.

A few moments later, AMIR asked if he could speak to Luciano, who got off the bus.

AMIR looked Luciano in the eyes, took an Egyptian pound out of the box and handed it to him.

<<This is for you. This is for food. You only have one hand so you can't work>>.

Everyone around them fell silent. The Italian tourists watching the scene were too surprised to speak.

In a short space of time something amazing had happened in AMIR's heart and mind.

AMIR suddenly felt like a lucky child: he had both hands and with these hands he could polish shoes.

At that moment AMIR felt immensely privileged compared to the Italian tourist and his privileged position encouraged him to help the man without a hand.

At just eight years of age he had managed to grasp and appreciate the gifts that life had given him.

The small group of Italians returned to Hurghada where they were staying and immediately came together to reflect on what had happened. They then decided to set aside a sum of money which they sent to Unicef in Cairo.

A true story

Luxor, 14 October 1999


Best wishes for a wonderful life