This morning Pied Piper Ben asked if I’d like to join him and a few children on an outing to the lake. I couldn’t pass it up. A hike, the children, water… all good. (Ben is a college freshman who has interned at SMK with another non-profit organization. He adores the children so much he returns whenever he can.)
As we set off, Ben and I laughed as we imagined the reams of paper that would be required for permission slips had this little adventure taken place in our communities back home.
A permission slip for walking barefoot one hour there and one hour back along a dirt path (trash, rocks, occasional smoldering embers), a permission slip for being out in the scorching sun for so long, a permission slip for being one of over sixty kids on a “field trip” with just two adults, one for going in a lake (albeit shallow) without knowing how to swim, one for going in a lake when you don’t have a swimsuit and perhaps one for going on an extended outing without food or water.
The kids were so excited on the way there. We followed a narrow path that wove its way through the countryside, past small rural settlements, mud homes, cows, goats and villagers. We sang songs as we walked hand in hand: everything from “Que Sera Sera” to “Do Re Mi” to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” The children knew the words to so many classics from my own childhood and sang them with great enthusiasm.
They loved being in the water, and even though most can’t swim, they had fun splashing about. I only saw one actual bathing suit. Most simply stripped down to their shorts or underwear.
Everyone was weary on the walk back, but not one child complained.
It was a wonderful excursion.
And guess who was my ever-faithful guide each step of the way? Kizza – the little boy who cut his foot yesterday. His hand was glued to mine the whole time we walked, and he made sure I was safe.
The long walk
Ben gives Charity a lift
Ben and the kids