Jonas Doesn’t Float

It was another great day at the school. I’m learning to not worry when no one is in class 5 minutes after our start time. The first time it happened, I was devastated. The second time I was worried, tomorrow… I’m planning on it.

Classes went exceptionally well (albeit much later than planned). Our teachers are settling into a good rhythm, students are starting to get comfortable and both classes love laughing at me as I learn to speak Creole.

After classes today I told Jonas (one of the older boys here) we’d hike down to the waterfall so that I could teach him how to swim. 

After a long hike down to the waterfall (some of you know the hike I’m talking about), we wadded through the water to a clearing with a small pool of water. After carefully inspecting the pool for 5 or 10 mins, Jonas swears he sees something. After searching together we discover a small fresh water crab. At this point Jonas refuses to get in and tells me there’s another waterfall we can go to with a better pool and no crabs. So back up the mountain we go…

The long hike back up the mountain is treacherous… I like to think of myself as a fairly in shape guy… but I almost die every time on this hike.

We make it to the top and down the road to find the location of our next swimming lesson attempt (naturally equally as treacherous). We arrive at a beautiful little river and make our way up stream to a very small pool. After (unsuccessfully) trying to explain to him the physics of floating as a first lesson, he demands I get in and prove that floating is indeed possible. 

*sidenote: I’m convinced every drop of water in Haiti is in the subzero temperatures… showers are short and swimming lessons are breathtaking.

We worked for close to an hour to try to get him to float – I think we finally achieved success (for a very short time) near the end. With a “win” in our pocket, we put our clothes back on to hike back up the mountain and home (he thought before we left, it’d be fun to jump in with our dry clothes on – of course I was in).

On our way back we got lost and found ourselves scaling the sides of mountain ledges to get home.

All this to say… today was great!

I have come to love Jonas. We talked for hours today. About his family, his past, my past, the school, learning English, Creole and French, women, life and love… Those moment with him will be treasured forever.

I was reminded today again that though I’m here to help start a school, it’s all about investing in people. Not people who are desperate that I come to save. It’s people who are imaginative, and creative, and brilliant, and funny and who invest equally (or more) in me. 

There have already in the first week been times of doubt and fear, second-guessing and feelings of inadequacy, but days and moments like this remind me of what I’m really here for. The school could fall apart tomorrow (and I’d be devastated if it did), but the investment that we’re making as I sit beside these students and walk the streets… that will last. And I am grateful. 

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