Friday, December 4, 2009

Youth and children rekindle connections with relatives over Christmas holiday

The Christmas holiday season has once again approached like a runaway locomotive that no one can slow down. It is one season that descends on us with full force. From catchy Christmas jingles to city decorations, the impact is felt everywhere. Images of the latest gadgets neatly gift-wrapped and happy children with pricey new toys constantly flash on TV while seductive voices urge us to spend more.

At SOS Children’s Village Eldoret, it is also a moment for our children to visit their relatives in the rural setting and a time for them to interact with others outside academic issues.
Given the hustle and bustle of school work, the holiday is an ideal opportunity for these children and youth to escape. The mood is already evident in the village with most of them engrossed in playing football and riding bicycles, while others make noise and run around. It is all part of growing.

With most schools having gone on recess, some of our children have already left for their rural homes and by mid month, most of them will have travelled upcountry to reconnect with their relatives. This is one way they will be able to appreciate life from another angle.

The annual journey which is akin to a “pilgrimage” is one that every child from our village is always looking forward to and excited about. It is a journey that connects them with their communities from whom they learn their language and provides them with glimpses of their traditions. It also brings them face to face with the hardships and realities of the community at an early age. This way, they are able to be challenged to reach their potential as well as remain firmly connected to their roots.
For those visiting their rural homes for the first time, it is usually an opportunity to get a different perspective on life. Apart from the journey being interesting, they might use the time to discover themselves. Self discovery is one of the most important things that can happen to a child during this period. It will also instill a culture of responsibility in them. They will fetch firewood, learn how to milk cows and go to the shamba. These little acts will contribute to their general character and mould them into better people in the future.

After all, life is about experiences.

By Fredrick Ochieng, Youth Care Co-worker

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