This weekend we had a Children Club program at the museum. There aren’t many organized events on the island so the kids get really excited when we do things – especially swimming things. We were expecting 15 kids or so, and we got 30. Invigorating chaos ensued.
Swimming sprinkled with maritime history was a lot of fun. Keeping the kids in check was a bit of a challenge, but they were so infectiously excited it turned out to be one of my best days here.
I spent a lot of time having young girls hanging off of me pretending to learn how to swim. Mostly they were just enjoying the attention. I managed to squeeze in a few swimming tips, but there were 15 of them. The diving staff, once they had finished their portion of the day (during which they preformed wonderfully), just laughed and encouraged the mayhem. I guess it was kind of comical – 2 kids hanging off each arm and 3 others swimming – which looked a lot like walking and arm splashing – in circles around me shouting “I’m doing it! I’m doing it!”
Next year there needs to be more than one of these trips. One for beginners and one for more advanced swimmers. As this weekend indicated, the beginner/advanced line is almost neatly a gender line. I spent a lot of time explaining to the girls that some of the boys were putting their masks on crooked too. Some of the boys were nervous too. Some of the boys weren’t good swimmers either. etc. etc. At a glance, it seemed like the boys were better at everything and like they were getting more attention. It was just a product of the strains on the program. 30 kids, not enough equipment, and not enough time. The girls had the second chance with the equipment so when time ran short they were still trying to get their masks on straight. Thankfully the girls didn’t notice this. They were having too much fun enjoying being in the water. I, however, was on my soap box for the rest of the day. Poor Neal had to listen as I railed against the automatic assumption that the girls couldn’t swim – some of the boys weren’t doing so well either. Why was it the girls had the second turn? Doesn’t everyone know that we’ve quantified the results of teaching a young girl?! Teach a woman, teach a community….
… and on and on it went.
But the truth of the day is that it was excellent. The Red Cross was still hosting their car wash when we finished, which was brilliant! At home a car wash is cute: “Aw, look at the high school students scrubbing cars.” Here it’s not only a fruitful character building activity for the junior high cricket team, but it’s a chore you don’t have to do!