I see him. At last he has come out of hospital… I ask him how he is and he replies in a thin voice and with a beautiful smile: “I’m fine, thanks, I’m very happy. What about you?” I answer him: “I’m fine too, thanks! You’re very kind. I’m happy to see you again.” He is worried about me; he asks me how I am!
Brilliant says he is happy. Happy about what? He is 14 but he looks like he is eight, and he is sick, very sick. He is our patient, a young patient at the DREAM Centre of Blantyre of Malawi. He cannot walk because he has practically no muscles left. He is so skinny that you can count his protruding bones, covered by just a paper-thin layer of skin. For months, he has been afflicted by diarrhoea and vomiting.
But he is happy. He left hospital and came to the DREAM centre for tests and to pick up his medicine. He is happy first and foremost because he feels better. And he is also happy because it pleases him to see all those who love him and who welcome him so tenderly. He is even happy enough to wait his turn to see the doctor; the important thing is that he does not have to go back to hospital. With us, he feels safe. He does not complain about anything. Ultimately, he is happy to be alive.
His name is Brilliant, and he is a living miracle. This is what Piero says, one of the Italian doctors who accompany Malawian employees of DREAM in their work.
Here, everyone knows Brilliant and loves him. He is very well known at DREAM. We have not known him that long; we met him when he was already rather ill. But we dedicated ourselves to him passionately. Hilda, a campaigner at the centre, follows him up at home and in hospital. She talks to his parents, helping them to hope, always telling them that Brilliant truly shines, that he is worth as much and more than a gem.
We work and pray so that he may continue to live, that he may be better. We have given him a ball; it is something he has wanted for years. We would all love to see him play and run after that ball. Hilda firmly believes that one day Brilliant will become the most important man in Malawi and the whole world… for us, he already is.
Our heart breaks in two when we look at him, but Brilliant pieces it back together for us with his smile and hope, giving us feelings of gratitude and joy, of the joy of life itself. For Brilliant, it is enough just to be alive, but our health is never sufficient for us. Faced with Brilliant and his lovely smile, I want to affirm strongly, never to forget, that for me too, it is enough just to know that he is alive.