Monday, 27 April 2009

A day in Warsaw - Post 20

The organisation’s decision of transferring Kacper from Ethiopia to Chad was prompt, and caused many things move in Kacper’s life quickly, in fact too quickly. He needed to arrange his Chadian visa, pack, and say good-bye to many of his friends in Addis Ababa within hours. He would be travelling to Poland for 5 days, where he needed to re-pack, meet with many people, and above all make sure that his parents were coping well with a medical treatment, which his father was undergoing for his lung cancer that had been accidentally diagnosed during his last medical check-up.

Kacper was sitting in a comfortable coach of the intercity train, somewhere between Krakow and Warsaw. He was going to stay for a day in the Poland’s capital, before boarding his Air France flight to Paris and then from there to N’Djamena. He was glad he had a chance to stay in Warsaw for the whole afternoon and evening. He was going to meet with… Krzysztof!

Kacper was very fond of Krzysztof. They first ‘met’ via the Internet, around two years ago, and their relation grew to something very special, something that Kacper did not expect.

Krzysztof was a kid of 15 years of age. Together with his parents, he lived in Warsaw. This is where he went to school and where most of his friends were.

Krzysztof, or Krzysiek, as Kacper mainly referred to him suffered with Spinal Muscular Dystrophy, the condition that he – Kacper also had. Krzysiek’s medical prospects were far worse than those of Kacper. He was permanently attached to his wheel chair, and there was no hope that he would ever walk.  He was badly curved, and he started developing problems with breathing. He needed lots of care and attention, which his parents tirelessly provided to him.

It was Krzysiek’s mother, a brave woman, who was not much older that Kacper himself that he started corresponding with two years earlier. Kacper browsed into website on Krzysiek, which she administered.

Kacper knew that he needed to be in touch with the family, the moment he discovered Krzysiek’s website. He enjoyed reading about his stories, and hobbies, as well as daily struggles that Krzysiek and his parents needed to go through to make sure that he did not miss out things that his peers were involved with, and that he managed to find something that would make him happy, and fulfilled now, and later in the future.

It took over a year, before Kacper actually met Krzysiek, and his mother. Until then, they had been exchanging emails. Justyna – Krzysiek’s mother, wrote to Kacper about her son’s developments, but also seemed to want to hear from Kacper – nearly desperately that people with MD can live happily, and lead lives, which are interesting! She treated Kacper as some kind of hope proving, it did not matter that her beloved Krzysiek couldn’t move much and that he was disabled. She wanted to hear that her son could have passions, and live these passions, the way Kacper did. This is at least what she believed that he had done… ‘God, Kacper… you seem to live your life, the way you want it, and I admire you for this… and I would love so much that my dear Krzysiek does the same’ she would write to him.

Kacper was very puzzled with all these admiration, but wanted to help Krzysiek in all ways he could. He therefore kept on sending to the kid pictures from places, where he worked, he discussed with him over the Internet about his homework, or challenged his views on his own disability. ‘No Krzysiek, this is not true… you can do lot more than that… and stop using your wheel chair, as an excuse…’ sometimes he would tell him off, whenever Krzysiek started moaning that he for example, wouldn’t go to a party, as everyone would only see a cripple in him.

His mother was very appreciative of Kacper’s emails, and chats. Once, she wrote to him that she noticed so much positive change in her son, since he started interacting with his older friend – Kacper. She noticed that Krzysiek opened up a lot, and was much more confident about himself. ‘All of the sudden, he could offer something unusual to his friends… He could impress the other kids with his knowledge of Africa, or tell them jokes that he had learnt from you Kacper’, she described her son’s progress. ‘Once, he even organised a slide show for his class, with your pictures… the kids loved it, and they all clapped… you can’t imagine Kacper, how proud Krzysiek was…’ she carried on emotionally.

Kacper always wanted to tell Justyna that it is her Krzysiek, which makes Kacper’s experiences even more exciting. ‘You can’t imagine, how much fun I have sharing my adventures, with someone like your son… so please, please stop thanking me… I should thank you!’ he tried to convince her.

Kacper just got to his hotel room. He called Justyna, and spoke to Krzysiek. They would meet in two hours, have a snack together, and then visit the last floor of Warsaw’s Palace of Science and Culture – so that they could together admire the panorama of the city! ‘That should be lots of fun!’ thought Kacper, wrapping up Krzysiek’s present that he had brought for him… a copy of the National Geographic’s DVD on Masai Mara National Park.


PS. Kacper is arranging travel details for his unexpected trip to Nairobi. 

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