roots of child neglect,
contort Ricky Baker’s feet,
strong hands cut safe paths.
(haiku inspired by Taika Waititi’s 2016 film, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”)
How do Ricky Bakers keep from stumbling over the roots of child neglect? They are the refuse of an adult world that fails them frequently. Juggled around foster care, their only possessions fitting in the bags they carry, these children often end up in juvenile detention centers or worse. The problem impacts minority children disproportionately.
How do Ricky Bakers find safe paths to travel in this life? Hunt for the Wilderpeople, directed and adapted by Taika Waititi from the Barry Crump novel, Wild Pork and Watercress, explores the question with the perfect mix of quirky humor, adventure in the gorgeous New Zealand bush and pointed social commentary. The movie follows Hec (Sam Neill) and Ricky (Julian Dennison) into the wilderness to flee a child welfare officer (Rachel House) determined to place Ricky in juvenile detention through a police response that escalates out of control. This is a wonderful film that gives voice to the kind of love it takes to rescue a child and change a life.
If you haven’t seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople, DO! I rarely shout. Take it to heart.
How do Ricky Bakers find strong hands to secure their futures? In 2016, my writing was selected to be given to children in a juvenile detention center to foster creative expression and encourage them to develop their unique talents. One girl found so much inspiration in that work that she took it with her when she successfully transitioned into foster care and used it for a school presentation for her new classmates. She continues to explore her gifts in art and writing. We can reach them by taking an interest in their lives one child at a time.
So the real question:
What are we each willing to do to help the Ricky Bakers of this world walk straight and fruitful paths?
Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me
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