Ballet dancers in the Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya one of biggest slums in Africa. The ballerinas (ballerinos) are young students who study dance for fun, made possible through a program run by U.K.-based charity Anno’s Africa, which provides alternative arts education to over 800 children in Kenya. The classes are taught by Mike Wamaya previously worked as a dancer throughout Europe. His classes focus on both the physical and mental well-being, that promotes confidence-building. The children feel and see how much they can accomplish if someone gives them the chance, in turn improves their self-esteem and makes them stronger in their daily life.
I am from Eritrea,” I said proudly. My teacher pulled down the map and asked me to point it out. I couldn’t find my country on the map because it hadn’t yet gained independence. I pointed to the northern highlands of Ethiopia and said “This is where my country is supposed to be”. My teacher said, “So you’re from Ethiopia?” to which I replied “No, I’m from Eritrea.
Warnings - angst, fluff, swearing, mentions of abuse (both mental and physical).
It was no secret that Bucky Barnes was a shell of a man, distanced from the new and foreign sense of reality he had come to know. The man himself was shy, very reserved, and somewhat lost with himself, he had distanced himself from life afraid, afraid that he would slip from his humanity and hurt someone by accident. And he didn’t want to hurt anybody, no one.
Steve knew the troubles and struggle of adjusting to a world far more advanced than what they remembered. And the team had attempted to ease the super solider into life, walks around the city, showing him the new technology and teaching him how to use it. Despite this, Steve knew that Bucky needed a push in another direction.
Down the street from The Avengers Tower stood a gym, it was kitted out with the latest equipment and all of the staff and members were amazingly kind and helpful with anything. So, Steve pulled some strings and managed to get clearance for Bucky to teach a self-defence class. And Bucky saw the good in it, remembering the atrocities he had committed, he thought it was only fair to do what he could to help people.
On the first day, Bucky was extremely nervous, the most interaction he had with anyone besides the team was the guy who ran the coffee shop down the street, even then the interaction was limited. Although, he felt oddly calm in knowing that both Steve and Sam were there by his side in support. The room contained a small group of people, a mixture of men and women, and Steve couldn’t help but let his eyes gravitate toward her. A woman who always returned his pleasant greetings when he said hello and gave her a warm smile, a woman who always offered to help him with workouts if he needed it, Steve hadn’t seen her in awhile. Sam also noticed her, how her dull eyes scanned the room and she looked down, her arms hugging her chest; he always bumped into her in the line in the cafe by the park, she always ordered the same thing and offered a kind smile each time they passed one another. But even he could see the obvious discomfort distorting her features, her body stood rigid and she looked paranoid, scared even. The woman stuck to the back of the class, watching carefully as Bucky demonstrated moves on volunteers but not wanting to get involved too much.
Once the class had ended, the woman grabbed her gym bag and pulled her sleeves further down, as if to conceal something. Dark strands of hair fell over her face as she quickly pushed them back in place as she headed for the exit, her lips turned downward and her eyebrows tensed, “Hey Lyla,” Steve called out to her, watching her freeze before turning back to face him, sighing as he beckoned her over to the trio of bandits. Sam watched her closely, how her blue orbs scanned the room before she decided to head over to them, “How have you been? I haven’t seen you in ages,” Steve stated as he looked down on her, noting her behaviour on the notepad in his brain.
Lyla shrugged, pulling the strap of her bag further up to sit on her shoulder, “Oh you know how things can be, work is pretty demanding,” she brushed off the situation with a tight lipped smile, her loose ponytail falling over her collarbone as her head moved from side to side.
Steve frowned, not believing a word she was saying, “Alright,” he said, earning a glare from Sam which he returned with a look of his own, “Lyla, this is Bucky, my best friend,” he paused as he turned to Bucky who wiped his forehead with a towel, “Bucky, this is Lyla, a friend of ours,” he motioned between Sam and himself with a grin.
Steve knew how shy Lyla was, almost as shy as Bucky in some ways, but despite her height it was clear that she possessed a large heart and a body full of compassion, “It’s nice to meet you,” Bucky told her, surprising himself by how easy the words left his lips.
Lyla nodded gratefully and felt her lips pull upward slightly as she looked toward the glass door, her expression dropping as she did, Steve followed her eyeline and found a man stood there, his arms folded over his chest and narrowed orbs focused in on her, “I’m sorry guys, I have to go,” she told the trio quickly as she hurried out of the room toward the man that neither Steve nor Sam could place in their minds. The man clenched his fists as she approached him, the trio couldn’t hear what he was saying to her, but judging the way she shrank when his lips moved, they knew it wasn’t good.
Sam sighed as he watched you and the mysterious man walk away, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Sam asked Steve, his eyes glued to the two retreating figure, watching Lyla snatch away from his reaching hands.
Steve nodded, “Thinking what?” Bucky inquired with confusion, looking between the two males in the empty room.
The pair shared a look before turning to Bucky, “Lyla doesn’t wear hoodies in the gym, Buck, never,” Steve stated, his eyes filled with worry, “Lyla has always worn a smile, she’s never been so reserved, she’s shy but she loves to get involved with things, loves to be challenged,” he paused, “Plus, since I’ve been going here, Lyla has always come to the gym every Thursday night, not even work could stop that, this place gives her some time to herself.”
Sam cleared his throat, “Every night at 6pm she goes to the cafe down the street, always orders the same drink and sits in the booth by the window with a book in her hand, she hasn’t done that for weeks,” he told them, his arms folded over his chest as he looked at the place where she once stood.
Bucky frowned, suddenly feeling angry, furious even, “Why? I mean, why has she just stopped doing stuff?”
The blonde haired super solider pinched his nose and took a deep breath, “I think we’re asking the wrong questions,” he muttered, “What we need to find out is who that man was, because I’ve never seen him before in my life.”