by Fred Sadia
“Come on, let’s play” is the word on the street when the kids are around. Every kid looks for a play partner and a good playing space, a place to embrace one another and discover their gifts and talents. The conditions in the slum can numb the joy that kids should feel, but play pumps fresh life to their hearts. Ndoto offers a safe and healthy environment for all the kids to play where they can mingle with each other. Michelle (pictured) walks more than a mile every weekend to come and join her soccer teammates. The Ndoto Soccer Academy invites girls from around Obunga to come and play in a place where girls can forget the upsets of everyday life and press on to the promises of the future. “When I play, I just feel excited. I wait patiently for another weekend for a moment to play again,” Michelle says.
“Let’s climb trees and do as we please, as long as we are happy.” In play, the trees at Ndoto are not spared, either. They are climbed with gladness to scare away the madness that life can bring. Eddie (pictured), one of the Ndoto college students, enjoys playing with the primary kids. Playing with the kids reminds them that they’re valued and important in society and gives them a feeling of relevance. “I love how the kids can make you sweat! They can make you run helter-skelter all over the compound. The joy is astounding!” Eddie says.
“Laugh it all out, it’s your time to play.” All kinds of laughter engulf the Ndoto compound every day, representing the peace that the students have when they’re there. Most of the kids in Obunga come from broken families, with either mom or dad absent, or perhaps even abusive. Some parents are alcohol or drug addicts and as such don’t take care of their children. With these family problems many kids come to Ndoto to find some peace that is missing in their lives. When they meet to play, they feel at peace.
“Come back, let’s play again tomorrow,” is the reminder we give to the kids every time evening arrives. There is hope for another day, when we shall play and feel peace and joy again.