My first day at Restart, I was connected to a girl there by the “small hopes of life.” As promised, here are some of her words about Restart. My questions appear in bold and her answers are below them.

What was Restart like when you first came to Restart? 

When I first came to Restart, it was still located in Gilgil alongside GTI. What I really love about it is the chance that every child gets to do things that they love. We all have things [in] life that we fall in love with.

Other homes are a bit different from Restart because most of the children in those homes are afraid. At Restart, everyone is jovial. There are no harmful things that happen at this place; everyone is happy, everyone gets along with one another.

Obviously Restart is a very different place from other homes. I personally noticed the strong family dynamic here on my first day as a volunteer. Do you think Restart is like a family, and what comments do you have about the relational dynamics here? 

This is the first time Restart children feel like they have a family. There’s this bond that children have between each other. They really love each other, and there is nothing that we wouldn’t do for each other. We share everything. If the big ones don’t take care of the young ones, who will? The bigger children have adapted freely to this – we all feel like we have a family somewhere. Even when you’re at school, you miss Restart.

How do you think children manage the split from the past and the promise of a future? 

You’ll find no child speaking about their story. When children come to Restart, they just forget about the past. You keep the past to yourself, and you focus on Restart, and what is has come to do here. Children are always happy, and having fun, and going outside and shouting.

When they first came, they were not happy, but now they are.

What happens when something triggers your memories from the past? 

Somebody will be there to tell me that this is not what I should think about. This is a place where we forget the past and we look forward to the future. There is this lock we have where we don’t dwell on the past, but we just focus completely on what is ahead of us.

As long as Mary takes care of us and the staff provides for us, we are content. The only issues here are small issues, like falling down.

As a volunteer, Mary described my work here as giving attention, positivity, and acknowledgement to the children here. As an older member of Restart, do you feel the same responsibility in regards to the younger children here? 

Yes, I love the young kids. They all look up to us and what we do. We love it when the volunteers give attention to the young ones, because they really need it. We really have to appreciate each other. We want other children to have the mindset that “I am appreciated, now I can forget about the past.” I really like it when volunteers concentrate on the small kids, because that’s what makes us older ones happy. We want to see the younger children laughing. The younger ones miss you a lot because you give them your attention, you show them your love.

What do you see as the future for children after Restart? 

When we were in the other Restart, and they told us they were going to build a new campus, we wondered if we would even have a new home. When it happened, we realized that Restart will make it to the higher levels. With Mary acting as our mother, we all think that there is a future. We say that we’ll study, and then go to school, and get good marks, and then go to university. We believe that we can. And after we do, we’ll come back to Restart and help where we can.

The way forward is studying. When we fail it feels like we fail ourselves, we fail Mary,  and we fail our Restart family. And then we go back and study again to get good marks.

In closing… 

We are thankful to those who support us and Restart itself, including our Mum (Mary), our staff, and the trustees. And lastly, our friends who we appreciate for their care and kindness they show towards Restart.

If you would like to know more about Restart and/or are interested in becoming a volunteer, or know someone who is, please have a look at their website! This is the link: 

http://www.restartafrica.org 

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