Team Kenya 2017, Great and Grateful

16442707_10154107839357665_1535564497_oThe children are really helpful in setting up the acro-mats.

We are born wise, we are born complete.

Said the yogi tea bag.

We are born.

Says Chez.

It is random and often incomprehensible for so many people all over the world.

Life and death coincide.

Side by side.

We learn how to protect,

be protected,

and to offer protection to others.

A lot of our work this week has been focused on young people who have run away or been forced out of any stability from a family, home safety and trust in humanity.  Yet they have been some of the most welcoming and excitable audiences for our shows and engaged during our workshops.

This week we have been offering some serious amount of playtime to all our outreach sessions and sharing all the energy we have to bring smiles.

  • Boys Rehabilitation Centre 3 session and a special fire show.
  • Boys next step centres after rehab and into learning step 1 and step 2.
  • Rural Orphans and Vulnerable Children centre, 2 day residency
  • Heshima Disability Centre
  • Refugee young women with their babies and children.

As we leave the centres I ask myself is this work simply a distraction? And is that ok? Can we ever do enough? Always wanting to offer more and return to build a relationship.  Speaking to the range of adults who run these various NGO’s it is clear from their feedback that our work here is a crucial part of supporting the young people to communicate with each other and safe adults (and that safe adults do exist), that being physically challenged keeps the mind clear and our simple message that everything is possible with practice.

This continues our understanding of circus as a metaphor for life.

I am reminded that enough is exactly that, enough.

We bring colour, silliness, comedy, storytelling, swirling objects and lightness.

The children and young people we work with this week come from drug addiction, street life, trafficking, rape, abuse and seeking refuge.

These traumas cannot and should not be labels.  They all have the rights to play, childhood, fun, and a safe place.  Our work can be offered as these young people are now in safe places with somewhere to sleep and food provided; so we are directly supporting their journey of recovery in offering play therapy, laughter, attention, guidance and peaceful role-modeling.

Some moments to share;

-We have an absolute hoot eating dinner with the boys as it’s turning dark, trying our utmost to be quiet, but finding it all so lovely to have new people eating with them the boys just silently giggle with us, who find their giggles infectious and in turn we laugh, the best therapy of all.  We have promised them a surprise after dinner and under the full moon we offer a prayer of respect for ‘Moto’ (Swahili for fire) and dance with fire, spinning and swinging, swaying and swirling.  This turns into a very exciting dance party with all the boys sharing their brilliant moves and being utterly present together.  It is humbling to hold such spaces to experience and witness.

-We arrive at the Heshima disability centre with very little information of what to expect, and this is the best way, we allowed ourselves to flow int the work and respond to each child’s needs.  Jess, Abi and myself spend the afternoon offering sometimes very gentle sensory play with scarves, sound, ribbons and fabric, and sometimes outright slapstick falling over in their outdoor space.  We end the session with a big dance involving the children and their mums who have taken a break from their creative project, this family interaction work feel suitably important here.  We climb in a verrrrrrry full matatu (bus) with the mums and children to get a lift home, the energy is alive, the smiles are wide and again I am left with a humbled feeling that we can interact with such delightful young people.

-Slightly apprehensive arriving to over 100 young girls who all have cool hair, hats and teenage attitude, we instantly got them on side with our ridiculous arrival sequence of trying to get changed, go to the loo and drink some water, place them in the shade and play discreet in a wide open grassy space.  Offering our story in Swahili of the sun disappearing and trying to get it back we have ultimate fun playing limbo, dancing around the tree and finding out about each others lives.  Despite the stories of these young women there is a wonderful sense of sisterhood and community from them.  We are welcomed into this and share a wonderful afternoon of fun and laughter.

Being grateful is key to this life.  We have a 6 days break now and instead of being guilty for having biscuits and access to a computer, I am grateful that I have the space to re-energise and get ready to go forward to our lovely next project in Nakuru.

The wind blows through the open window.

The big suitcase is still full of circus equipment to take on the road to next project.

The peanut butter is almost finished.

We are now a fully well team of 5, having been 3 all week, it is great to have more power to go forward .

Pamoje, (together)

Yote Yawazeikaka. (Everything is possible)

Amani. (Peace)



In between workshop and show we dress up, make up and prepare on the street side for arrival to the performance.  What a laff!

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