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.