This week has been difficult. It’s felt like I’ve been living in the plot of a drama series – each day a new episode bringing added twists as the storylines unfold and new challenges as new cases are brought forward. It can all feel a bit surreal, to think that these are real lives, not fictional characters. And that somehow, by hearing the stories brought before me, I’ve become entangled in them. I’m not observing the drama from a distant world, sitting on a comfortable settee, watching as the plots thicken on the little TV in front of me, able to switch it off when it becomes too uncomfortable.
Instead, I’ve stepped through the screen and have become written into the script. This week has included the following story lines:
– severe malnutrition: of a precious 6-month old baby, who in addition has high fever and diarrhoea. His little ribs stick out and his eyes bulge out of his tiny little skull. His body so fragile it feels it could shatter at the slightest touch
– defilement: of a girl who claims to have been sexually abused by a close relative
– witchcraft: a young girl being accused of being possessed and speaking satanic language
– murder: of a young child and his siblings are potentially at risk
…in amongst other things.
Seriously, some of the stories you couldn’t even make up. Some have been so challenging and so painful to hear that I wish I could switch off. Go and put the kettle on, change the channel. But I can’t. And now, by me typing this and by you reading it, I’m drawing you into the script. You may have missed the episodes where the details of these cases were disclosed, but you’re reading this now, I’m sharing this with you now. There are people, kids, here in this world – this real live world that you live in – that are desperately hurting. And you can’t switch off the channel and ignore it.
The question is, what next? How can we change the script to dictate a better future for these precious ones? How can we re-write the story so there’s a positive outcome? Now I’ve seen and you’ve heard, what is our responsibility as actors in this messed up world?