|At the stroke of midnight on the first of January, the brilliant Times Square ball descends, signifying the birth of a new year, a time to renew, reinvent, and reenergize. As the confetti swirls through the air, there’s something else afloat with it–Hope. Hope that no matter how fulfilling last year was, the year ahead might shine brighter. Hope that whatever might have went wrong could be made right in the days to come.
There is no place where the expression of hope is more poignant than the MicroSociety at the SallyTest Pediatric Center within the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. Inside this hospital, which serves some of the regions poorest, there is a large, sunny room where children in various stages of recovery, many from AIDS-related cancers, are given a window out into the world beyond for a few hours each day. For many of these children, the future is filled with uncertainty. During their time in MicroSociety, they can live their dreams, play out their visions, and grab a piece of a tomorrow that may never be.
Take 5-year old Evans, suffering from retinoblastoma, incredibly self-conscious about his enlarged left eye and fearful for the surgeries scheduled to treat his condition. When he first arrived at the center, he marched straight to the easel and began to paint with great intention, energy, and focus…and without a single word. Through engagement in MicroSociety, he was provided a glimpse of life as a professional artist and encouraged to set up his own gallery exhibit. Despite all he might lose in the months ahead, Evans was given the opportunity to gain purpose, confidence and a positive channel for his emotions.
Or Flora, a tall fourteen year old, who arrived from a life on the street with a mass in her belly and a fire in her eyes. When asked to be the manager of the MicroSociety’s Supermarket, she showed little interest at first. In her world of hunger and need, this was not a familiar place. Fast forward just a few weeks and it was she who asked the most challenging questions of the manager of the local supermarket who had came to visit her Microsociety.
“What do you do when someone is caught stealing?” It was Flora who appointed and hired a polite greeter at the entrance to the supermarket. It was she who inconspicuously stocked the shelves between market days, and she who made sure that her employees were also given turns to do their own shopping when the market was open. Despite where Flora came from, she saw where she might go.
Flora and Evans are not the exception at the Sally Test Pediatric Center. They are the norm. They represent the young patients who have endured more than their years should allow but are given a hook to cast into the sea of possibility. A hook called MicroSociety.
| Did you like this story? What Are Your Hopes for the New Year?
This story is Copyright © 2011 by MicroSociety, Inc.