Sunday, June 03, 2012

You Can Do A Lot By Doing Just A Little


In case you've missed it, itinerant Victoria journalists Jody Paterson and Paul Willcocks are down in Honduras doing good works with CUSO.

And the problems that folks need help with seem monumental, for all kinds of reasons.

But sometimes it is the smallest of things that matter.

Like when Paul and Jody figured out a way to take a small gaggle of orphans swimming:

...I headed out in the very hot midday with a plastic bag of newly purchased towels and banana chips in one hand and a five-litre bottle of some sort of powdered juice in the other. Jody - or Dr. Jody as I now call her - had left earlier to head up the steep hill to the orphanage, or group home, or whatever you want to call it. As it happened, her procession - five kids, plus a woman who lives at the orphanage and her two children - came down the avenue as I emerged from Calle Independencia, our street. They looked a little like orphans because Sunday was haircut day, and the three boys had prison-style buzz cuts.

The pool is nice. We go one day most weekends. It's the pool for one of the hotels, but located about 800 metres away from town, past cantina row, in a little garden with palm trees and hammocks and lounge chairs. Hardly anyone uses it. At night, there's a disco - Papa Changa's - but except for the Bob Marley CDs, it's quiet in the daytime.

Jody had arranged for the orphans to swim for free, but of course the guy at the pool knew nothing about that. So we paid, and they swam with wild enthusiasm. They ranged from one to 12, and some could swim and some were a little freaked by the big pool.

But they were all responsible and no trouble. I had wondered if I would have to rescue someone, but no. I supposed looking after yourself becomes a habit. And they hung in the water for a long time, getting us to toss them around and showing off for each other. Then they ate the banana chips and gulped the powdered drink and the rain came. We waited for a while, then trudged back as torrents ran down the streets.

We'll be back. There are about 25 kids old enough to swim, but you can only take five or six at a time...

Gosh, this made my heart sing.

So I mangled Yogi Berra and left a comment over at Paul's place that is the header at the top of this post.

This is how Paul responded:

...The best part for me was Alex, a crazy little dude who, as soon as we sorted out the payment problems, did a front flip into the shallow end of the pool - he's an impressive gymnast, even in cheap cowboy boots - but scared himself and retreated to the little kid pool. I talked him back into the big pool and he called out to all the other kids, hey, look at me, I'm in.

He also does quite a good, 'Helloooo, hoow are yoou,' in English, although he has no idea what he is saying.

Really, I'm not sure you do much. But it's nice to swim, and go back to the orphanage smelling of chlorine and feeling a little like there's a world out there, even if you don't touch it very often.

You can help Paul and Jody do their thing, big and small, here.


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