Monday, 18 December 2017

Returning to Love

The Power of You – The Power of Jeho – The Power of Necessary Arts
by Melinda Eversteyn

As we drove down the busy streets of the Pipeline district I was excited with much anticipation to return to Jeho and to see the smiling faces of the kids that brought so much love last time I was here in August 2017. But nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming reception the children of the Jeho orphanage has prepared. As we entered their space there was a large banner, cheers, hugging and plenty of tears of joy. Necessary Arts has ‘come home’ to this special place. After welcome backs and introductions, it was time to get to work. Naima took half the older students up to the rooftop for drama, Zach has the middle age group, and I took the remaining older kids as well as the youngest.

Similar to what we did it Kilifi and maintaining the theme of ‘The Power of You’ I asked the children to trace around their hands, write their name, and then fill the remaining space to depict their power and what is important to you. Reoccurring themes included sport, singing/music, religion, love and the mother of the orphanage Mariam who they refer to as Mum. Once completed things got very glittery! The students used wet glue to outline their hand, poured over glitter, shook off the excess and then cut it out. All the hands were placed on the wall to form a Christmas tree. The adults got right into it too! After a snack break, the groups rotated so all children were able to do their hands. Once complete the little ones continued to draw and use the glitter as much as possible. The older ones then used yarn to created pompoms. The kids picked this up really quickly and when complete I taught a small group how to juggle. Others used the pompoms as a hacky sack, where Cecil showed his pro moves to the delight of everyone. The little kids raced around throwing them. It was chaotic but controlled and I have never seen so much glitter in everyone’s hair!

To wrap things up it was performance time. The older kids up first performing, followed by Zach’s improv group. All groups were fantastic, the children loved getting up on the stage and the audience enjoyed the show. Saying goodbye when doing work like this is never easy and today was no exception, in fact, it was the hardest in all my time volunteering as part of the outreach program. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room as we said our goodbyes and had a group prayer. The kids at Jeho are so special. Their love for each other as a big family and their openness to work with Necessary Arts and welcome us as part of their family is so unique. They make us feel like we are home when we are there with them. They are proof that the love of family and friends is much more important than wealth and privilege. I hope they recognize how much POWER they have and that life brings them opportunities to express this.

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