MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A Manhattan Beach family’s year-long gift to a little boy from Afghanistan wasn’t just commercial things like toys.
It’s a story of hope and healing.
KCAL9’s Laurie Perez says the family helped an Afghanistan war victim get a new prosthetic leg, let him stay with them for a year while he recovered and gave him lots of nurturing.
Abdul Wahid has become part of the Samimi family.
Video games, a Nerf gun, a camera — like many 8-year-olds this time of year Wahid has a list for Santa.
But you might say his biggest wish has already come true. Three weeks ago, he returned to the Manhattan Beach home he’s shared with the Samimi family for the past year sporting the new prosthetic leg he’s already become a natural walking on.
“I saw him actually walking on his leg and he was like tall and he was walking normal and it was like just something jumped out of me I was like Wow! That’s amazing,” said Sam Samimi, Wahid’s host father.
Wahid arrived in LA from Afghanistan last December. He lost his leg when a bomb exploded in his back yard. The Samimis say they they were moved after learning of him through the Children of War Foundation which, with Shriners Hospitals, sponsors injured children, placing them with American families willing to host them during intensive medical care. Wahid had several surgeries before getting his leg last month.
But through it all his foster family says it wasn’t his missing leg people ever noticed — it was his ever-present smile.
“He hugs everybody he sees and he’s just like a little angel. He’s been all smiles, it’s been nothing but smiles,” says host sister Kayla Samimi.
That’s why his foster sister started a website and named it “Smiles From 7000 Miles.com.”
The site hopes to raise money for Wahid and his family so that when he returns to Afghanistan in February hopefully his family can move to a safer place. In the meantime, the family that’s come to love him here prays he won’t be hurt again.
“We’re really gonna miss him.” Kayla says, “he’s like my brother and it’s hard to part from someone you really love.”
Wahid will likely need more care in the years to come and the Samimi family fully expects to host him again.