It’s easy to blog a diary-esq approach to a day. We got up at such & such time; then we did this, and then we did that. But that’s so academic and cold. Sure, it tells the factual truth but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
It’s the stories that touch our hearts, and stories that change lives. The diary for today would tell us – Monday 12th June ‘Take the Kids swimming’. But the true story of today is this. The Forge donated swim wear and towels, and a thousand miles away children get to experience something they’ve never done before. The Church steps up in one part of the world and joins together for a moment with its family in another place.
30 kids left the centre. Hand in hand with leaders. Walking for the bus like a primarily school crocodile going 2 by 2. 30 kids who all say they can swim but clearly none of them have ever been in the water before .. what could possibly go wrong?!
I spoke with Marlenee – she was clutching Bens arm – “Are you scared ?” I asked. “No. Its just that I‘ve never been on a bus before”.
My boys gripped my hand shouting for us to walk faster and faster. They literally could not contain the excitement.
We get to the pool and most race for the changing rooms. Shoes kicked off. Pants thrown at the wall. Towels dumped in a heap. And NEW swimwear put on. For some it’s literally the first new item of clothing they have ever owned. And some don’t race, they stand and stare mesmerised at the pool. In the UK it might have seemed a little dirty & unkempt. But in Guatemala for these kids it’s paradise for a few hours.
And It’s a joyfully heart wrenching experience when you go into the changing room to get the kids and the boys don’t want to leave. “Pero, por que ? “ I ask. “But why ?” There are showers here Maton. And you realise its been months since they’ve had the chance of a shower.
But the lure of the pool soon draws them in. Some bomb in. Some tentatively climb down the steps. The desire outweighing the fear. The smiles and giggles. Super soakers, aerobees, shoulder rides, ‘swimming lessons’ and ‘splash the leaders’ ensue.
Towards the end of the day the girls disappear off to one corner of the pool and start dipping their heads under the water. And combing out their hair. And you realise they want to wash. They don’t get the chance too often. The chlorine is an irritant to us but a cleanser to them.
And we crocodile walk back to the centre. Tired but smiling. A good day had by all.
Children blessed beyond measure.
The diary says “we went swimming”. But it was so so much more than that.