Play is the essence of childhood. I believe it's a requirement for proper growth and development. We chose the preschools our children attended because they were play-based.
In Uganda I have seen children who don't have time to play. I met a father named Frank who is 19 and has a 5 year old son. We see 6 year olds caring for babies. Seventh graders here attend school 7 days a week. This is why I LOVE to see children in Uganda have the chance to play.
Today at the clinic (our last day at Elevare), we shared soccer balls and frisbees and baby dolls. We blew up balloons and pushed kids on swings. They played! Many of them were repeat visitors to the clinic, and there was a group of boys waiting for Robert to get out his lacrosse sticks today. We even had a boy who we treated yesterday for a broken arm and an infected leg there to play lacrosse with his good arm! ;-)
Robert and Diamond and I went to the orphanage to pick up Ms Agnes, her helper Jen, the head teacher Suzanne, and Grace and Patricia to come to the clinic to see the dentist. Grace and Patricia were VERY nervous, but gladly played with Barbies (we showed them how to braid their hair... Next year I'll bring black Barbies...) and held our hands as they got teeth pulled and brushed with fluoride. It was a gift to me to be able to hold sweet Grace's hand while she got her dental work done, then play with her a bit, and take her back home to curl up in her bed.
Robert and I are all packed (not much to pack since we leave it all here!) and ready to fly out tomorrow night. We are sad to leave Uganda and anxious to see our family!!
Today is Keith's and my anniversary, and I am so grateful to be married to a man who lets me follow my calling and is a fantastic father to our kids!!!