PART TWO: OMLI
Chapter 5: The Charity
The SKIMMA spent the next year traveling in different boxes, moving between a variety of large and small vehicles; vehicles that took it across air, water and land. It was touched, squeezed, flung, thrown, poked and prodded by an army of hands, a few of which were gentle and kind, with the majority being cold, distant and impatient. Finally, it arrived at its destination, a freshly setup tent in an ever expanding slum that stood at the outskirts of a recently formed mining town.
UNA’s SKIMMA stayed taped up in its box for days, never seeing the light of day. At some point, a nurse tore open the box, and emptied its contents into a large pile on a long rectangular table. And there the SKIMMA remained, waiting patiently to be picked up and played with, just like the other objects that littered the table.
A week passed, and a vaccination drive began. A number of kids of different shapes and sizes were lured into the tent to get injected, bribed with exchanging a series of vaccinations for any one item of their choosing from the contents of the rectangular table. None of the doctors or nurses delivering the vaccinations spent too much time contemplating why a bribe should even be necessary, or how it came to be that the vaccinations protecting those who received them from a variety of dangerous and often deadly diseases was, for some reason, not tempting enough, or even what should be done to make wanting to get vaccinated without bribes the norm.
On the third day of the vaccinations, a tiny, scrawny male OSZA was ushered into the vaccination tent. He looked at its insides nervously, as the nurse who had brought him in gently pushed him closer to the doctor that awaited him. The child had red eyes, and hands whose wrists and forearms had turned blue, for reasons that both the doctor and nurse abhorred, but dared not talk about.
The child had to be coaxed and calmed more than every other that had visited the tent, but eventually the doctor and the nurse successfully gave him all the required vaccinations. They even got him to tell them his name. OMLI.
The nervousness disappeared from the little OSZA once he realized that the last vaccination had been administered. He instantly perked up, and ran to the large rectangular table and grabbed a single object, UNA’s SKIMMA, without hesitation. He looked at the doctor and the nurse, both of whom gave him a smile and a nod, signaling their consent with his choice. The child returned their smiles with a much larger one, put the SKIMMA on his gray shoulders and skipped out of the tent happily, his exit completely contrasting his entrance.
The doctor and the nurse watched OMLI’s exit and smiled. Such small victories and moments validated their various sacrifices and trials. It made their work, devoid of monetary compensation or gratitude, worth it.