VTC driver and writer, Brahim Kermaoui poses with his book „the Lost Child“ in Asnieres-sur-Seine, north-west of Paris, December 13, 2017
Stolen at birth, brought up in the greatest misery, lugged from homes to foster families before landing in prison, Brahim Kermaoui lived in hell before raising his head; As a VTC driver, he turned his story into a book, which he sells to his customers in his car.
„Suffering, pain and sadness“: these words spontaneously come out of the mouth of Brahim when asked to evoke his childhood, spent in Gennevilliers (Hauts-de-Seine) in the 1980s, alongside a mother suffering psychiatric problems and an alcoholic uncle. His father disappeared when he was 6 years old.
He has long kept his story for himself before deciding to write it, then to broadcast it to „send a message of hope, say that in difficult times, it is necessary to hang on.“
The revelation takes place the day he discovers the fate of Gavin Escolar. This Filipino immigrant, a Uber driver in San Francisco, made his fortune by selling jewelry that he made himself. Brahim, who works for the same company, finally sees a way to spread his story with the permission of Uber.
He prints the book, „The Lost Child“, and publishes it at the author’s expense, before putting it on sale in the backseat of his vehicle. „When I tell my life to customers, they remain speechless,“ laughs the driver-writer.
For the story of Brahim, 39, a laughing face with green eyes, is marked by violence and abuse. Delivered to himself from an early age, under the thumb of the big neighborhood who hit him and humiliate him, he finds himself at 11 years old to sell heroin.
„The addicts who came to buy they hallucinated when they saw me, I was very small,“ he recalls.
In school failure, living in an apartment without electricity and unhealthy, Brahim is placed in DDASS sixth. A relief and a tear at a time: „My mother was screaming, she was clinging to me, it was very hard, even talking about it today makes me cry,“ remembers Brahim, upset at the mention of this memory.
– „I do not want him anymore“ –
Then begins a long wandering homes in foster families, peppered with petty larceny, failed formations with, ultimately, a return to the deal.
Despite weekly visits to the psychologist, to whom he confides none of his trauma by shame, Brahim „begins to sink“ and drowns in alcohol.
The descent into hell continues with a burglary „completely foolish, we were drunk“, which leads him to jail for 6 months. He is just 20 years old.
The story would be almost sadly trivial if an event had not upset Brahim’s existence as a teenager. At 14, he was beaten by his uncle, with such brutality that he spent a month in the hospital.
Called by the social services to explain, his mother, at the end of the roll, balance that Brahim is not his real son. „Anyway, I do not want him any more, keep him, it’s costing me too much,“ she says to Brahim’s teacher, who is shocked by him.
The revelations are just beginning. Brahim learns from an uncle that his „adoptive“ parents had recovered their first baby, at the hospital in Berkane, Morocco, who died after 15 days. They then „exchanged“ for another: Brahim. Today, convinced of having been stolen, he tirelessly seeks his biological family.
„I’m not the only one who has happened,“ he says. „When I see the stories in Spain, with children who find their parents 50 years after that gives me hope,“ he wants to believe, referring to the business of „stolen babies“, born in Morocco in the 1970s and 1980s and sold to wealthy Spanish families.
Now married and father of two little girls, Brahim says he came out thanks to religion. This story is also a form of therapy, a desire to deliver what he has long kept in him. Hope someday to find his real family.