To sit and listen is a gift given to us. To sit and hear more about the lives our children lived before they came to us, feels like trying to breathe underwater.
You are held motionless wrapped in the hugeness of the words that you can’t quite believe you are hearing. You dare not breathe in for fear of breaking the trust that is woven in every word that is spoken and relived, as our boys bring their pasts into the moment.
This is one conversation that happened while chilling in town with one of our amazing young men. We were discussing Kenyan politics and the upcoming election. This young man started to talk about the elections in 2007, when he was a small boy living in town. He described how the gangs and police that ruled the town, used the post election violence to kill ‘street boys’. His eyes, normally so full of life and hope, shut down as he talked about the boy they called his twin. He described how they had been together and decided that he would go to the shop, while his twin waited down the road. He thinks he may have been in the shop around 3 minutes. As he walked towards where he was meeting his twin, he was met with his own nightmare. A nightmare that haunts his waking moments even now, 10 years on.
His twin, the boy who he called family, was laying in the middle of the road with a single bullet hole in his head. He had been shot by law enforcement officers. The people employed to keep violence off the streets. Our young mans’ sadness and fear, filled his very being and he coped in the only way he knew. He shut down. He blocked out the pictures and the feelings that he is too frightened to visit.
He told us that dead bodies of boys lined the roads, killed by the gangs that rule and killed by the police. Boys that no-one claimed or mourned. Children. Murdered daily.
He works daily not to think about the atrocities he has seen. So many small kids killed in 2007 violence. So many of his ‘brothers’ killed as small boys – they had no future and lived a life of understandable fear.
For this young man, and so many many more who have died while living in town, I pray for peace in these elections.
For this young man, and so many more Play Kenya will continue to make life count for so many amazing funny and caring young men, who stared in their own horrors, who lived through a life they dare not think about.
Please continue to support us in our work and make life mean life, and not simply existing for children who have been driven from their homes.
Help them to bank good experiences and help us to work with them to understand their horrific pasts.
Our young man says that almost every day, every day, he is doing something when the video in his mind starts to play the horrors of his young life.
We are with you. We stand along side. We will do everything therapeutically possible to give you the future you deserve, but most importantly we will continue to show you that you are you and you are loveable.
Thank you for letting us into your tortured, beautiful life
Please help us to hold the hand of the future