I guess I'm crying at the injustice of some children being cursed at birth by being born to parents who have AIDS; I'm crying that some of these children were simply abandoned, their parents walked out of the door and went away never to return; I'm crying at lost childhoods and innocence robbed; I'm crying at years of poverty and starvation; and I'm crying that these children have never played in a playground before. Playgrounds that are in every park and garden and street corner in England and America and China (Shanghai at least) and so many other places in the world and seem like such a commonplace thing... But here I am watching children, some as old as eighteen and not even children any more, playing on a simple swing and slide for the very first time in their lives. Is it fair? It can't be.
But I guess mixed up in these tears of anger, sadness, pain and confusion are also tears of joy. Joy that for just these few children, these twenty-three kids, that life of poverty and abandonment is now over. The trajectory of their lives has been forever altered and they now know of love and tenderness; they now do not have to worry about where their next meal will come from, or even if it will come at all; they now have a future filled with education; and they have a home, a new family and a sense of belonging. I'm crying as I can hear cries of laughter and happiness, and as our Dulwich students who have been blessed with a different start to life, are playing with these Ugandan kids, and for just a brief moment, backgrounds, nationalities, past lives and even wealth do not matter at all. They are all just children and young people playing, laughing and having fun as one.
The tears are subsiding now.