Day 6 – Mauritius 2012
After a cruisy weekend, I arrived at the village Monday morning to see Linda, who is extremely calm at all times, quite worried. 3 of the children had run away from the village, 2 boys and one girl. I was told that this happens quite a bit, however it is usually the boys and its extremely concerning when a girl goes missing overnight. Linda told me that she had to go the police, so I would be taking the kids on my own with Umi (the 17 year old who is a good swimmer and beginning to teach the other children). This meant that the language barrier maybe more difficult, especially because this morning I was taking the hardest group, the young children. To be honest I was pretty concerned about being in charge of 20 4-8 year olds at once in a 50 metre pool, and not being able to speak their language. Umi was so helpful, commanding respect from the young ones and really kept the kids under control during the lesson. But by far the best part was what went on the water. Last year about 15 or the 40 youngest children would not hop in the water due to fear and another 15 or so could not hold their breath underwater, which is the first stage of learning to swim. Every single one of the young kids was now able to hold their breath and float. Clearly they had gained confidence and reassurance over the last 8 months of watching their fellow brothers and sisters perform the skills and drills I taught last year. For a child to overcome a fear and try something difficult it is very powerful to watch another child perform and enjoy the task. I was so proud this morning, not so much in my teaching but rather that the program had done its job and allowed so many kids who possibly would have never learned breath control and floating, to float for 10 seconds in a relaxed position.