Friday, 11 April 2014

Adoptive Dad on Tour

As the blog is clearly about me I thought it appropriate to side step the usual suspects and give some brief thoughts on my little trip to Kenya.

I was honoured to be be invited to travel to Nakuru in the Rift Valley to deliver training to staff at my friend's school and orphanage.

We encountered some challenging situations and stories and on several occasions I had to take myself away for a discrete weep.

Staff described stories of abuse, children suffering multiple bereavements and experiencing trauma un imaginable in a UK context.
I won't bore you with the gory details, needless to say it was a challenge to remain composed in the face of such stories.
However, all was not bad and we did manage to enjoy ourselves, playing cards each night in a truck stop and drinking Tusker beer.
We had bizarre cultural exchanges trying to translate various types of sexual abuse into Swahili.

The trip was brief and my companions and I worked hard to ensure that we made good use of our time there.

At the end of one seminar I was asked 'How to help, what do we do for children who have experienced, multiple trauma, loss, separation and abuse?'

There is no easy answer, in the UK the same question would be struggled to answer. Reading Twitter feeds, Facebook and talking to friends we are constantly seeking advice on how to parent our traumatised and brutalised children and access specialist services set against a background of cuts and reduction in services.

So, when confronted with 147 children with heartbreaking stories and no available parents what is the answer?
With child protection and therapeutic services effectively non existent what can be done?
I have to believe that the most basic tools are within all of our grasp.

Love, patience, kindness, forgiveness, listening and empathy.

The most profound and insightful intervention will fail if not built on the foundation of these qualities.

Easy? No certainly not, often the hardest qualities to draw on.

But regardless of where you are they are available.


  1. Sounds like such a hard trip but pretty amazing all the same. I'm sure the work you did in Kenya will have a lasting impact. Something to be proud of

  2. It was an amazing experience and privilege, I am working with some others to ensure that this is just the beginning of training and developing knowledge and experience. The children and young people were loved and happy inspite of the challenges.

  3. Great stuff, now we need to get Grace on writing revising the P & P

  4. I wouldn't wish writing policies on my worst enemy.

  5. Sometimes you come across people and you hear their stories and you think, how does this person keep on putting one foot in front of the other each day? And yet they do. Thanks for the perspective and the reminder of what basic tools we all have.

  6. It was amazing to see the work that was being done and the love that was shown to children and young people with such harrowing stories.