Playful boy that everyone loved

He had long thick hair and big black eyes with prominent eyelashes, and his facial features were so refined that one would think he was a girl, if he were [...]

At the very beginning of the work of our Integration House “Pedro Arrupe“, a boy with a specific life story was sheltered there. In the one-stop reception center, known as “Miksaliste”, which directs minors to accommodation, he was brought by an unknown person and left there without any explanation. At that moment, the boy was 11 years. He had traveled from Iran to Belgrade legally, by plane, but was subsequently abandoned in Serbia. Field social workers called JRS Integration House, and we sheltered the boy who was of smaller height, so even though he was 11 years old, he seemed much younger.

At the beginning, he was uncooperative, manipulative, and skillfully used every opportunity to test the limits of tolerance with the staff. He had long thick hair and big black eyes with prominent eyelashes, and his facial features were so refined that one would think he was a girl, if he were not so mischievous.

He was involved in various activities, primarily school, various sports training, martial arts… In all places he used every opportunity to draw attention to himself by causing some trouble, so no JRS worker was surprised anymore if contacted by educators, trainers, school pedagogues, or anyone else who helped us with his integration. He even changed schools several times due to problematic behavior.

Nevertheless, he was an exceptionally intelligent boy who, in a very short time, learned Serbian language almost flawlessly. After three years of staying in the Integration House, he even used slang and expressions, and became familiar with Serbian proverbs, which we assumed he had adopted at school. He spoke several languages, including Serbian and English, so he served as the on-duty translator when our cultural mediator was not present in the house. Infinitely charming, not only because of his small appearance and the language, but also because of his overall attitude, he captivated the employees of all partner organizations that collaborated with us, as well as anyone who visited our Arrupe House. There was not a person who didn’t know him, nor anyone who wouldn’t ask about him when he wasn’t in the house.

Extremely witty, sometimes by saying something unpredictable in a serious situation, he became the main entertainer of the employees in the Integration House and everyone else he encountered. He maximally took advantage of the love we gave him and was very aware of the impression he made.

He taught us that the most love is needed for those children who are difficult to love and who, due to their character, usually stand out from an early age due to disobedience or unwillingness to compromise.

He always knew how each employee felt in every situation, and if any detail in the Integration House escaped someone’s attention, it certainly didn’t escape his.

Although there was often a battle with him involving rewards and punishments, pedagogical measures, or making concessions of any kind, and although each employee had lost their patience and nerves for him at least five times in their career, his departure from the Integration House brought tears to everyone’s eyes.

He was truly a special in every sense.

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