March 31, 2011
It was a sobering moment. A time when a simple act of daily decision-making was so much more than what was apparent.
What was apparent was an active child–one who has the normal tumbles, scrapes, and bumps.
What was apparent was a group of swimmers, ready to hop in for lessons.
What was apparent was the need for a sorry but firm decision that he would not be able to join the lesson today . . .
One of my swimmers came to the lesson this morning shortly after taking a tumble on the playground, bumping his head. I had been told to watch and make sure he felt ok, so I did. Then, before having them enter the water, I noticed a small, bleeding scratch. I wished I could just react as if it were any active youngster; but instead I could not help but feel a wave of decision-making worries. So today he had to sit out. And when he was told he cried.
He cried the innocent tears of a child who just wants to join in with his classmates. The simple tears of disappointment over not getting to swim on a hot, sunny day.
And he has no idea how deep the well of weeping could be for his young life. Would that this well could stay untapped, could never have to be drawn . . .
March 27, 2011
The last time I made the trek to the lake was during the dry season. So when I suggested it as the destination for this afternoon’s bike ride, I did not realize I was getting us into quite such an arduous journey: what with the shoulder-high grasses and the trenches of mud, and the flies that tend to swarm around eyes, nose, and mouth, we felt like we had completed a bit of an obstacle course by the time we returned. But it was worth the trip to find the peaceful little oasis of a lake that I remembered.
Next time, however, I think I might not wear blue jeans; you can take my word for it that the experience of ants in your pants is one that you can live without . . . and these are no friendly ants, to be sure! The ants that we live with are a fearsome lot, prone to mass, fire-biting attacks: beware the ants of Africa :-)
March 26, 2011
I guess I deserved it. This afternoon I lost a moment, committing a bit of a cardinal sin, photographically speaking. Just coming home, I was watching the rainfall and looking for sunspots coming through–I knew it was prime rainbow weather. So I stepped outside and, sure enough, saw a strangely shaped, lovely arc right in front of me. I walked back in to fetch my camera, set a chair on the porch to get a better view, and stood on it. Then I saw the little ones I had spent the weekend with playing across the field, and I called to them. When they didn’t hear me I grabbed my umbrella and started to walk over, with the thought that I would get them in the photo as well. But then I realized I had not snapped a “backup” photo to be sure to capture the rainbow before it dissipated; sure enough, in those short moments, it had faded away. So here is the remnant–if you peer real close [that's some good Southern vernacular for you!], you can see the low arch of it . . . I promise, it’s there :-)
March 19, 2011
So I’ve spent a week “surviving,” as one of 3 chaperoning teachers for 30 grade 10, 11, and 12 students at a survival camp. It has actually been a truly wonderful time for me, and a time of pride as I’ve seen the ways these young men and women can rally together and support each other through challenges.
Incidentally, I have a fair number of photos taken over the course of the week. But since my last post here included a shot of a homemade slingshot, I ended up deciding upon this photo to represent the week . . . after enjoying the sight of young slingshot bearers, this time I got to try my hand at it. It came as no great surprise to me to find the students displaying a good deal more sharpshooting talents than I did :-)
March 12, 2011
I passed these two while on my usual Saturday afternoon stroll to the pool. They looked to happily chummy that I couldn’t help risking the photo. I should perhaps explain that there is a good reason for me to use the word “risk” here: this was actually my second attempt at a photo during this walk. The first did not go so well. I have grown so accustomed to eager photo-posers that it did not occur to me to encounter anything else. So when I spotted a youngster wheeling around an ingenious homemade toy, I happily pulled out my camera. If you can picture those wooden-wheeled creatures that toddlers pull around with a string then you have the general idea. This one, however, was made from 2 plastic juice containers fitted together on top of reused wheels . . . very worth documenting. But when this one saw me with my camera, he took off in a very impressive sprint. I was quite perplexed, actually, and stood there for a few moments, camera in hand, watching him and wondering if I should take it personally.
Thankfully, these two fellows came along shortly to appease my camera-happy self. And if you look closely in the left boy’s hand, you will see another hand-made sort of a toy–one I remember well from my own childhood: it is a slingshot, that he was putting to good use as he walked, periodically grabbing a few pebbles from the road to toss out at creatures on land and in the air . . .
March 8, 2011
As I approached the school dorm this afternoon, I saw one of the girls plopped on the patio, engrossed in her work. Coming closer, I had instant happy childhood memories of all the time I spent doing the same sort of project: a simply mud mixture, with our red Zambian dirt, is perfect for instant clay. An easy molding material that lends itself towards lovely creaturely creations, as is so finely modeled here :-)
March 4, 2011
This afternoon we held a Mud Race after school ended: a combination fun event and fundraiser. Some of us [unnamed] staff were cajoled into participating . . . some even displayed odd forms of spirit such as “I love mud” tattoes. I dare say, our red Zambian dirt makes mighty fine mud. A good time was had by all and, as one spectator parent announced afterwards, it was “good, dirty fun” :-)