I have had the need to write what I feel about Hodei for a long time, and in the end, this came out. I support the people who are helping Hodei. We will find him.
I haven’t met Hodei. We are not form the same village, nor the same age and up to this day we don’t have any friend or acquaintance in common. And, however, I’ve been a whole year thinking of him, sharing his photos and tagging on them friends that are living abroad, reading about him, and telling everybody to be silent when I hear his name in the news. And, the thing is that I can´t get Hodei out of my mind.
I was 3 months pregnant when I first heard his name. I identified myself with him so quick: ikastola, university, Erasmus,…till here, my life that, updated to 2013, it would have meant looking for a job far from home, taking advantage of the knowledge of another language and country.
That’s why I think Hodei, takes after his parents because he is the kind of person who doesn’t take a no for an answer and faces problems by taking everything at hand.
Since my son was born I feel closer to Koro and Pablo , Hodei’s parents. I really look up to them not only for how well they have brought him up but also for what they are doing day after day for him.
Eneko is now 6 months and tomorrow we are going to Galdakao to show affection, solidarity and respect to the people who know him, his loved ones, and other many, that without knowing him, can’t stop thinking of him. When he gets a bit older I want to tell him about Hodei. I want to tell him how important is to study, to learn languages and follow our own dreams, even if that means going far away from home. But especially I want him to learn that, in this life, you have to be a very good son, a very good colleague, and a very good friend, so that when you need them, they will do all their best to help you.
In spite of everything, what I would like, is to be able to tell him the whole history and, how with everyone’s effort, Hodei returned home. In the meantime, I will continue thinking of him, sharing his photos and tagging on them friends that are living abroad, reading about him, and telling everybody to be silent when I hear his name in the news.
Hang in there
Para Hodei y su familia
HOJAS DEL CALENDARIO
Ha pasado un año y seguimos sin saber cómo fue, qué ha sido de tu destino. Nos llegó la noticia de tu desaparición como un relámpago en la noche, erizándonos el bello de una piel curtida en otros muchos avatares. Fue una descarga en medio del desconocimiento. Tras un primer momento, desorientados, fuimos despertándonos en medio de la que nunca quisimos creer como pesadilla.
Ha pasado un año y hemos envejecido lo que no está escrito. Algunos no llegamos a conocerte y en tu ausencia nos ofrecimos a tu entorno para ser amigos. Sin saber de ti, lo hemos ido sabiendo casi todo. En este camino hemos ido reconociendo anónimas voluntades para sentirnos todas las personas en una. Piña de la misma causa, abrazo en la intemperie y latido próximo de un corazón común.
Desde entonces, desde aquel 19 de octubre de un ya lejano 2013, han caído doce hojas del calendario. En este otoño de coloración tardía volvemos a despertarnos para seguir viviendo en tu ausencia, plomo en nuestras alas que siempre quisieron remontar el vuelo en esta vida.
Mes a mes, en las concentraciones silenciosas en la plaza de nuestro pueblo para recordarte sin mencionarte, fuimos tejiendo la red social que ha mecido nuestra esperanza. Fueron cayendo hojas del calendario y allí nos encontrábamos, a pie del Ayuntamiento, casi sin cita, vertebrando un pueblo como sostén de un reclamo: ¿Dónde estás? Y sin respuesta seguimos, seguimos sin ti.
Éste, el tuyo, es un relato inacabado. Queda pendiente un punto y final salvo que el destino así lo quiera.
Hodei, te seguiremos esperando y, aunque el tiempo mine nuestra entereza, viviremos lo suficiente como para recordarte y desear que al otoño nunca le falte una hoja en el calendario porque tuyo será siempre el octubre de nuestras vidas.
It has already been a year since we received that call from Kevin and Borja. I remember their worried and agitated voices, they had not heard from you since Saturday morning. There were no messages, your phone was turned off and in your room, the clothes you wore that Friday night were missing … Concerned, Jon and I looked at each other as if we were reading each others minds. We both said, “Hodei is not like this, something must have happened … “. We left on Sunday from Donostia to catch a plane back to Belgium and by coincidence; Iban was taking the same plane. We met at the airport and we looked worriedly at each other. The three of us were thinking the same, “Hodei is always in touch, Hodei is not like this, something must have happened …”.
MondayIt was a hard day that Monday. We called to your office hoping you would pick up the phone and we could hear your voice.
You were not at the office.
The feeling that something had happened, something bad had happened, began to take over my mind. Time was up, we had to call your parents. That was the start of the nightmare that is still real today.
Since then, every time I see your picture I cannot think about anything else but where you might be. What happened to you that night? Which bastard you might have bumped into, why those people who you approached asking for help that night, have not yet come forward …
All my thoughts are of pain and uncertainty so I fear the worst. It hurts. It hurts that every time I see your picture I only have this in mind and not the good times we shared. There were many. It is easy to share good moments with a person who has such a good heart, such enthusiasm for life, is so cheerful and so positive.
Moments like whenever we used to see a Basque group, we’d look at each other and tell ourselves, “Yes, those people are Basque” and laugh together because we were thinking the same. On a sunny day we’d go with our friends and a bottle of basque cider to the Scheldt River. I remember Laughing because you do not like it when Kevin calls you “nubecita” (little cloud). We’d laugh even more when you would call him “kevs”, and set yourselves to discuss it as if you were two children playing …
I still have your “Bolleke” glass at home. I want to give you your glass. I want us to go on another beer tasting in Antwerp again. I want you to call me “Oihanetxu” whenever we see each other, as you always do. I want to know you are okay. I want the ending of this letter to just say “see you later”…
I had the opportunity to meet Hodei in our Erasmus in Ghent. Due to those coincidences of life, we lived in front of each other, and even though we were not going out with the same group we became very good friends. I remember the dinners we had all together in the common kitchen, the relaxing breaks taken after studying when he was coming to see me while he ate his obligatory portion of biscuits, and each time he was going out of the room that I was asking to him, “Hodeitxu, where are you going?”
Hodei it’s one of those persons that marks someone forever…it’s not only a good friend, but a gorgeous person, always ready to help everyone. It is one of those persons that knows how to draw a smile from you when you most need, one of those that would always take time for a friend even having loads of things to do.
In these moments, there is not a better way of leaving my testimony, than recovering a note I wrote some months ago:
“It hasn’t been a day in these two months that I didn’t think of you…Each day I remember more moments together. Today I found myself smiling while I was remembering you walking in the kitchen with your Athletic shoes: How proud you are of being from the Basque country, with the flag in your room and trying to teach me some words. I remember how happy you were when your niece was born, “uncle Hodeitxu”, I called you.
I regret not telling you this before, there are a lot of types of people in this world but It’s a pity that there is no more people like you. I would like you to know how much I love you and how much I miss you.
There are a lot, a lot of people that love you and…we won’t stop until we find you”
I continue thinking the same that I was thinking when I wrote these words, and this will never change. Hodeitxu I miss you and I hope I can organize soon that trip to Polonia and go all together.
Big hug to the family and friends of Hodei.
Hi uncle Hodei,
A year has passed since we took this photo, it’s the last photo I have with you. We don’t have many photos together, and I don’t know if we will have any more. Now we have to bring in a “Family Photo Album” to Ikastola (a school in the Basque country). It is going to be difficult to find recent photos of our family. You are not with us and the rest is not in the mood for taking photos. It’s sad uncle, very sad.
The last time you saw me I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t say a word, I was very small, almost 10 months old! I have grown a lot, I am almost 22 months. I can walk, run and everything now! I can say so many words, a lot of the time I talk endlessly and I sing a lot too! Do you remember the last video recording Mummy sent you? How I sang while she was feeding me! Well, now when I sing they understand some of the words, I am quite good at singing!
Uncle, I know you loved me a lot Mummy, Grandma and Grandad tell me everyday. I love you a lot too and when we walk around Galdakao I point at your photo saying “uncle Oei” the whole time!
I will soon be 2 years old. Mummy has saved the Happy Birthday song that you sang to me and sent through Whatsapp last year. But I am going to tell you like you told Mummy when she sent you the last photos of me… “I prefer the real one”.
We need you with us,
Lots of love,
I first met Hodei in september 2011. In fact, we spent together in Gent a semester thanks to the erasmus program. We were living in the same residence floor and we were also attending the course of Project Management at the university.
We shared a lot of memorable moments in this period enjoying our stay very much: great dinners in the common kitchen with erasmus friends from the floor, interesting project work at university, an amazing trip to Latvia and Lithuania!
I can say Hodei is a smart engineer and an honest person, always ready to help his friends. Working and living with him was so easy and enjoyable.
Last year, while having his internship in Antwerpen, I came there and also visited him. We spent a great afternoon together remembering with nostalgia our Erasmus months.
…te echo de menos Hodei, y espero que iremos a vernos pronto en Milano o Bilbao!
Un abrazo fuerte a la familia!
2 years and a half ago I worked in Ghent. One afternoon, a friend of mine came with another Basque boy who was studying in there. The boy’s name was Hodei. He was very nice and cheerful boy, one of those persons that you get close in a couple of hours. Since that day, we met together very often to have a drink, take a walk, or have dinner. After few months I had met him, I had to come back to Bilbao and I said bye to him that last night: “When we both are back, we will meet either in Bilbao or Galdakao, see you”.
Our relationship was not very special, we didn’t have time to make big memories together but since the first day I knew about his state, I remember him every moment. All those small memories have become unforgettable and every time I hear about a new, I read it very nervous, like trying to find a happy ending.
My biggest hug to the family and all his friends, and to you Hodei, I hope we can soon be together and I can give you back the “Duvel” I owe you. We are waiting for you.
Bonjour à tous,
je suis un ami de Erasmus de Hodei. On s´ai connu à Gante en 2011 et très rapidement on est devenu de très bon amis.
En réalité ca fut très facile, Hodei c´est une personne amiable et de confiance, une personne sur laquelle tu peux confier toujours quand t´en a besoin. On était camarades d´appartement dans notre résidence, c´est pour ca qu´on a vécu ensemble beaucoup de moments sympas à la cuisine qu´on partageait pendant qu´on préparait le dînné , quelque chose qu´on faisant ensemble fréquemment. J´ai appris de lui énormement de choses, et pas seulement comment préparer les légumes ( lui c´était le chef et moi celui qui aidait jaja) ou dégustant d´ excellentes bières belges. J´appris de lui beaucoup sur le Pays Basque et sa culture, mais le plus important que j´appris fut comment se sentir chez soi malgré être très loin de ta maison. J´avais un ami. Hodei c´est un très bon ami, comme tout le monde le sait il est aimable et intelligent, quelqu´un qui ne mérite pas que rien de mauvais lui arrive.
Je vous embrasse,
Easter 2013. It was a good weekend, much better than what we had expected when we were planning to visit Hodei. He showed us Antwerp, the city where he was living. He explained to us the history of the city, we went to his favorite bars and we tried beers with unpronounceable names, then we talked about Galdakao´s friends, about soccer, silly things at the end.
We said goodbye at the train station:
- See you soon – we said
Still we have not lost hope of that “soon” coming much later.