If you want a relaxing holiday with lie-ins, sun beds and hundredths of novels then Play Kenya may not be for you. However, if you want a life changing experience where fun, play, teaching and smiling faces feature every minute then it definitely is.
Last Summer I took the plunge of returning to Africa, knowing I would leave a piece of my heart there again! We went out as volunteers with Play Kenya to see the work we had heard and read so much about in action. During our time we wanted to get involved as much as possible and had a very busy schedule ahead. The most consistent event of every day was spending 10 minutes trying to start the car to bring us to the local caffe for a large caffeine shot, ready to face the day.
Every day was unique and eye opening. Some days we spend visiting orphanages where Play Kenya have their attachment program rolled out. Meeting the children and hearing some of their stories showed just how valuable this is and how these young lives have been changed by having the staff of Play Kenya care for them. It never ceases to amaze me how much joy pens, balloons and paints can bring. Other days were spent teaching staff who work with vulnerable children in therapeutic skills and listening to their stories. We also spent time in a local women’s prison giving out underwear and hygiene products as well as arranging for their room to be decorated in order to be more stimulating for their young children. Sometimes, it felt that the problems were too big and that everything was just a drop in the ocean BUT, the ocean would be less without that one drop.
Not a day went by that we didn’t get smothered by hugs from the children, sang songs which required a lot of coordinated dance moves, got covered in paint (or giraffe saliva, on occasions), played, gave baby massages, and generally had a wonderful time listening, learning and helping these children along their journeys in just a small way.
I would volunteer with Play Kenya again in a heartbeat! The work this charity is doing is simply indescribably; the dedication, compassion, patience, experience and energy of the staff make such a difference to the lives of these precious children who have experienced so much and carry a heavy burden. Play Kenya holds the hands of the future, giving children the chance of a safe, loving environment and a brighter tomorrow. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?