Margaret Smiling is like the Sun coming out

Margaret and Elinipa smiling

Margaret and Elinipa smiling

Margaret arrived at Watoto Kicheko only recently, and she didn’t look happy at all. Those who follow us on Facebook will have seen her sad face, so sad it would bring tears to your eyes. But that didn’t last.

Margaret smiling

Margaret smiling

Yesterday, Margaret started smiling and giggling after some laughter therapy from one of the other kids, some of whom are experts in the field.

 

Margaret Smiling Happily

Today I was greeted by a storm of excited kids, and I could see Margaret smiling happily, enjoying this new trick thoroughly. Seated beside her was Elinipa, just back from hospital; and Elinipa was smiling for the first time in ages.

Some of the kids here have chronic conditions, disabilities and various other problems. But there is a lot of happiness, too, and it’s most uplifting to see a child smiling and laughing who had previously looked sad.

Margaret and Elinipa smiling

Margaret and Elinipa smiling

We don’t really know what Margaret has gone through, except that her mother was unable to care for her to the extent that social services recommended that she be moved from home to Watoto Kicheko. She certainly needed good food and exercise, as she’s underdeveloped for her age (probably around two and a quarter).

But when I see a kid transformed like this in such a short time I know Watoto Kicheko really is doing a great job.

By Simon Collery

Simon Collery has been an online content writer and blogger since the late 1990s, developing content for an information industry website, and later, writing about development, HIV, human rights and other subjects, mainly in East Africa. He is a co-founder of the Don't Get Stuck Collective, a group of people who write and agitate for greater recognition of non-sexually transmitted HIV and other bloodborne disease, especially through unsafe healthcare, cosmetic and traditional practices, mainly in Africa and Asia. He also blogs about media depictions of African people, unethical practices by publicly funded western institutions in African countries, mass male circumcision programs carried out in African countries using mainly US funding, and other subjects. He has a particular interest in Kenya and Tanzania.