Serious stuff

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‘What you drawing?’ Cyril asked.

‘I’m working on a project,’ answered Obby.

‘That sounds exciting.’

‘It’s a very serious project,’ Obby said in a serious voice.’

‘What it’s about ?’

‘It’s about how children can  feel after they have been through something horrible or seen something horrible,’ Obby said.

‘But why do you want to do a project like that, it doesn’t sound like much fun,’ Cyril asked him.

‘Because it’s important for everyone to understand why children sometimes act like they do and then we can all help.I am trying to share information through drawing-  sometimes drawings can be more powerful than words.’

Cyril listened to Obby. He didn’t seem convinced about this, ‘Serious‘ Project.

‘Remember that day when something horrible happened to you, and how you felt and nobody could understand why you were acting differently,’ Obby reminded Cyril.

‘That was the worse day of my life,’ Cyril said, ‘ I was enjoying an ice-cream, and next minute out of nowhere three gangster dassies told me to hand it over OR ELSE- one even had a sharpened chicken bone and was threatening me with it too.’

‘And afterwards, how did you feel?’ Obby asked him.

‘ I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to eat and I couldn’t sleep. All I kept seeing was those three horrible faces and I didn’t want to go near the place where I was robbed!

I was lucky to have you Obby because you understood what was happening to me and it wasn’t long before I was eating ice-cream again.’

‘And nibbling chicken bones,’ Obby added.

‘Now can you see how important this project is?’ Obby said.

‘Is this project only for people?’

‘No,for dassies too,’ replied Obby.

‘Good, because we also have feelings you know.’

And with that Cyril hopped off.


Trauma-Signs to look out for.

Trauma refers to a situation where a child or adult is faced with an experience that threatens life or serious harm either directly or indirectly, such as witnessing death, or serious injury, witnessing acts of violence, sudden death of a family member, good friend or class mate.

Children can react in many different ways-however these are more typical reactions than others ( see pictures). If in ANY doubt, please seek professional advise.

Thoughts and Images About The Event

These thoughts or images are like seeing pictures or a film over and over again.Sometimes they are also auditory where they hear repeatedly what they heard turning the event.

Afterwards, different stimuli may trigger these images, such as a police car or ambulance, or someone who looks similar to the perpetrator etc.They may try and avoid places and people who may remind them of the event.


Physical Complaints– such as stomach aches, headaches and nausea.



Anger and Demanding Behaviour– some children may feel confused, angry and can act younger than their age demanding attention.



Some children may have a greater need for physical closeness as they are afraid that something else will either happen to them or their family.



Some children withdraw and want to be alone. This may indicate that they do not find the same pleasure in activities as they did before. It may be a sign that they need more help.



Guilt-Children can blame themselves and their actions for causing the event.


Traumatic Play and repetition of what they experienced.


Problems Sleeping and Nightmares- children may find it difficult to fall asleep or may wake up having nightmares. They may need to sleep with the light on and door open and to know their family is nearby.


Basic Guide

-Provide an immediate sense of being taken care of

-Physical closeness if the child allows it

-Allow the child to express what has happened-in talking, playing or drawing

-Be open and supportive, tell the school teacher to ensure further support for the child

-Return to normal routines at home and school as quickly as possible

-If concerned seek professional advice/support




  1. Nearly everyone at one time or another experiences some type of trauma. In this particular story, even the dassies do. 🙂 The illustrations are very.helpful. A good achievement, RJ Rowe.

  2. Thank you Faiza for your comments.. Really pleased about The Fernkloof trip that has been arranged for some of the children from Hawston . Glad Obby has inspired this. .

  3. This story is about true-to-,life situations children and dassies 🙂 go through. The writer shares with us how to deal with these situations by using illustrations. It is indeed “serious stuff”. A read to share with parents and teachers.

  4. I enjoyed this story very much. The writer once again highlights why sometimes children behave the way they do in a compassionate way. Also that Dassie’s get bullied too:) . The drawings highlight again in a simple way their different reactions to certain situations. Very enjoyable and very educational 😊

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