The Bright Side

Hello Creative Supporters!

I’d like to give you an update on my work in Kenya in the hope that it will inspire and motivate you to keep working in order to achieve any goals you may have set yourself for 2013.

I got back from Kenya for the third time just before Christmas. When I first went out there in 2011 to work on a teaching project, I never expected my life to change as much as it did as a result.

I have already spoken in a previous blog about the way my project works and some of the challenges it presents, but the larger the project grows the more challenging it becomes and the deeper involved I get. After getting back this year I started thinking about how the small things can make such a difference. For those of you that read Claire Croskery’s blog on February 18th, you will have an understanding of what I mean.

Sometimes, it is the smaller things in life that can make a difference. In Africa, I work with people that live in the worst poverty imaginable. They do not know where their next meal will be coming from and can often go days without clean water or a decent meal. Working with these people makes me appreciate how lucky we are to have access to these things that we so often take for granted. Giving a child a banana or a bottle of pop can make them happy for days. They are so grateful and appreciative for the smallest of gifts – things that we wouldn’t think twice about.

I thought about how great Claire’s advice was, how something as simple as a smile can instantly brighten your day. I also thought about how universal a smile is. No matter where you are in the world a smile symbolises good and joy and that’s a reminder we all need sometimes.

Often I would be working with the children and it would upset me. These children are often sick and dirty. They have been dealt a bad hand and through no fault of their own, they suffer. But they rarely get sad. They rarely complain and they rarely ask for anything more than company and attention. It is hard to work with these children and not feel a sense of sadness and hopelessness. You wish there was more you could do and that you could singlehandedly change the world to a better place. It is very easy to become disheartened and negative. But an honest smile from one of my children can make all the difference. To see them smile through the toughest of times, when they are hungry and thirsty and tired, but smile anyway brightens my heart in a way I can’t describe. I mean really, how can you not feel instantly better when you see this? So go ahead – smile some more. Smile every day and see how far it spreads.

By Hannah McCann, Cumbria Development Officer

The Bight Side, Kenya




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