One of the projects our organisation is working on is the skate ramp. It’s a small enclosed play area the kids can come to every day. My first interaction with the kids was interesting to say the least. When we unlocked the play area a few of the boys grabbed some skate boards and were happy to give it a go. Others took out what I realise might be one of the best toys every: Lego. I wasn’t sure what my role at the skate ramp would be, and not speaking the language is frustrating, but it turns out all the kids want to do is play. Before I knew it a little boy called Miguel had me searching for the missing parts for his space ship. It turns out I’m really good at looking for lego, and by the end of play time we had the ship built, defying the language boundries.
The smallest little boy grabbed a scooter from the start and was determined to ride it from the ramp to the lego table (about 4 meters) but it took him a good 5 minutes. The ground the play area is on is dust and rubble and the poor thing might as well have been using a scooter with square wheels. But he was happy.
A girl called Rosita appeared and without a word, she came and sat next to me, reached into the lego bucket and started collecting all the little lego people. Once she had a few she started putting them in rows on a lego base. After a while she gestured for me to find more, with a sort of “you’re not doing anything, you can help me” look on her face. After she’d arranged quite a lot I said “do they have names?” she shook her head. “Is that your army?” she nodded. Should I be scared?