The story is written in first person by 13-year old Malik, beneficiary of World Vision’s Gifts in Kind program.
This morning I got up at the same time as my father; my father got ready very quickly and went in a hurry to find some work and earn a wage, as he is not employed. While he was getting ready, I watched him and something occurred to me: as long as I have known him, he has had this washed-out jacket, and somehow it seems that, as much as I love him, I love that jacket too. I think that the jacket is older than I am, although I am 13. Every time my father planned to buy himself a new jacket, something more important turned up, so he always ends up putting on his old jacket again and again, but always speaks highly about it as if it were new.
Sad and in a really bad mood, I left my home and walked towards the bus station. I was walking slowly and thinking about my father. I felt such sadness; it was like this sadness got tied around my legs and I was almost late to catch the bus because of it; at least it seemed like that.
I came to school, and I was still kind of absent during the classes and breaks; and, during the fifth break, my teacher woke me up when he told me to come to the classroom No. 12 with several other pupils. I went there and was among the first ones. I did not know why he called us and I was a bit scared, although I knew I did not do anything wrong.
Soon, the teacher came and explained that we got a present from World Vision. He started giving us presents and explained that jackets and pants are not for us, but for our fathers and brothers because the size was too big. I quickly took the jacket out of the bag to check if it would fit my father. When I looked at it, I realized that it was like it was made for him, in his favourite colour, grey! The smile on my face seemed to be the biggest of all the pupils. I thought of my dad and his old jacket. An end has come to it. I could hardly wait to come home and show it to my mom.
When school was over, I ran to the bus and in half an hour I was home. My mom was in the room and she was sewing something for our neighbour. I showed her the jacket and she was really glad, same as me, and she told me that my dad will be back home in a couple of days from the field. Dear God, I think that I have never, ever wanted more for my father to be home sooner, as I could hardly wait to give him a present. I knew he would love it.
“Hey, there’s dad coming,” I heard my mom saying.
I flew like an arrow out of my room with the jacket in my hands and ran towards my dear father. Well, I did not get to say hello properly or kiss him even, but I immediately started talking about the jacket, about good friends from World Vision and South Korea, and while I was talking I kept repeating: try it on! It was like the jacket was made for him, and I told my mother to bring a glass of water so that we can show him how the jacket was made of special waterproof material and that it repels water.
My father listened to me with a smile, and when he put on the jacket, put his arms around me and said with a joke that it is good that he can now get rid of the old jacket as even “the birds on the branches” know him by that jacket. It was like he knew what I was thinking about that morning when he was leaving for the field. Thanks to good people, there are more and more good pages to our book of life.