Since surfacing on Facebook, the once popular old board game Ludo, has filled a well of nostalgia for many, but it means more for 34-year-old Kester Benjamin of Beetham Gardens who sees it as a way of unifying his community.
If you paid a visit to the area recently you would have probably seen him bent on his knees under the scorching sun putting the final touches to his life-size re-creation of ludo, and it has all been a labor of love for him, “most of the youth these days don’t know much about these games so I try to bring it in a way big enough, exciting enough and catchy enough to make people to want to come out.”
Benjamin said within the corridors of his community are children grappling with the stigma of living in an area known for violence and gang warfare. But he said after revisiting the past, he found the answers to break the shackles of negativity. He himself has learned to smile through the pain, “since after I lost my son 5 years ago, I’ve been more open to life and I know what it’s like to lose a part of me, I had shut down for like 2 years and every day he came across my mind, there were days I cried, but he still inspires me and I know he is looking down on me, when I think about him I see kids, I feel love and I feel lifted.”
Despite his own setbacks including unemployment, Benjamin has remained resolute on bringing has community together, “It’s been real difficult, sometimes it have days I does have to go and deliver letter for sponsorship to companies and I don’t even have money to travel, I does have to borrow but I does try to make it happen for the love for the kids and the reason and purpose I doing it, and I’m not asking for anything back, just sponsorship of things like books, uniforms and stuff”.
Benjamin said Ludo and other popular board games from yesteryear provide the ideal avenue for youth in the community to put down their electronic devices and reconnect with one another, something he stressed had been lacking not just in Beetham Gardens but throughout the country, “ It have people who live in the village like four streets away and a year or two years pass and they haven’t seen each other, so these games will provide the physical interaction which has been absent for some time”.
He also has his sights set on rolling out his life-sized recreations throughout the country in hopes of achieving similar results, “I need full support with this, I need to take this around the country, and if I get mats printed I can go into children’s homes and fun days, I willing to do it anywhere, even in the sky I want to put Ludo vibes”.