There are two kinds of Easter I’ve had throughout my life. The first kind, from the first half of my life which was spent, for the majority, in Guyana, involved making cute Easter baskets in Sunday School, church services and kite flying (usually on the seawall) in the afternoon with family and family friends whilst partaking in some sort of picnic. The second, in various other locations, usually involved some sort of acknowledgment that it was Easter (cards, messages to family) and reminiscing about kite flying on the seawall in Guyana (mind you, I only flew mine for a few minutes before inevitably handing it over to my mother – I could only be entertained for so long by holding a string in the air).
This Easter, I meant to “capture” the holiday on camera – the way I tried to capture Mash and Phagwah. I thought I’d either cover the seawall or the National Park and share it the pictures with you all. Easter Sunday, while I was on my way home, I saw a person on the seawall holding a kite that was bigger than himself! Told myself I would definitely catch something of the sort the next day. Instead, circumstances led up to my buying eleven kites around ten in the morning and leading a group of eleven kids, aged 10 and under, to the play area of the National Park. Don’t worry – I wasn’t the only adult (thank goodness!).
The children currently reside at a government shelter – a refuge for far too many kids from abusive homes. I was supposed to be taking these kids on an outing two weeks ago – or that was the plan. But we needed permission and good weather and, of course, free time. Somehow or the other, Easter Monday opened up et voila! Turned out to be a blast for these kids who couldn’t be with their families even over the holidays. Am only sad that we couldn’t take all the children from the shelter on the same trip (the plan is to eventually take them all out over several trips on different days).
As it was, eleven kids are a handful! There were four of us grown ups taking care of them but oh my goodness the energy of children is something else. The sun was hot hot, as they say, but it didn’t faze them one bit. Too much to do – swings, slides, see-saws! And minus a few petty squabbles here and there amongst themselves, they were a pretty cheerful lot. At one point, I found myself holding hands with a four year old who was actually skipping as we made our way across the play area. That made me laugh. It wasn’t posed or contrived. She was just that happy. I can’t remember the last time I skipped un-ironically. And this little girl was staying with strangers because it wasn’t safe to be at home. Talk about life lessons.
After a few hours in the super crowded Park, we headed over to a private neighbourhood park closer to the shelter where we busted out the kites. Most of them were much better at kite flying than I was although I was able to make myself useful by helping the really little ones when they came to me saying sadly “Meh kite cyan fly, Miss!” Lots of running around finding “ballas” (the thing the twine is wrapped around), untangling twine, throwing kites up in the air over and over again, mediating disputes, cheering up sulks.
I had thought maybe I could double back to the National Park after we dropped the kids off at the shelter to catch my shots but by the time we managed to leave the shelter, I was too tired to care about giant kite competitions and whatnot. Usually on a holiday, I find some way or other to indulge myself. That is, it’s usually about me and doing what I want to do, making myself happy coupled with a sense of urgency about “having a good time”. Yesterday, it was all about the kids – what do they want to do? Are they hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Happy? Does someone need a bathroom? I wonder if this is how parents spend years of their lives on end…
Not to knock anyone else’s way of celebrating Easter but I found this third kind of Easter to be, thus far, the most rewarding (if not the most relaxing).
I took photographs of the children, with the permission of the shelter and Child Services, so that I can later print and give to them to keep. What this means is I was so focused on getting shots of the kids, that I only took two shots of “Easter” in total. TWO! That’s a new record for me.
Anyway, enjoy the few I’m going to share here on the blog. Hope you all had a happy Easter!