Monday, October 29, 2012

ARMtour Day 4: Sharks in the desert, and karate lessons on the footy field!

I'm grateful my team mates didn't drop me!
Today we spent five hours in the local swimming pool in Santa Teresa. It’s been closed for a while and all the kids seemed excited that it’s recently re-opened. At 40 degrees, I was pretty thrilled myself. Our job as ARMtour role models was to coordinate activities to entertain the students but also build skills and confidence in the pool. I think it’s fairly safe to say we all had a ball. 

It’s not easy to run through the water with four little kids hanging off you though, but boy it was fun! As I threw kids into the air (at their request of course!) and towed them on blow-up dolphins and lielos I heard a whole range of different laughter and it warmed my heart. It momentarily made me wish I’d kids of my own. It also made me believe I could work in a remote community for a couple of years. But then at 3pm when school was over, and the heat was still debilitating, I nearly collapsed with exhaustion and knew there was no way I could get up do that all over again tomorrow, let alone for alone for a year.

 What's the time Mr Shark? Anthony, moi, Cathy, Marc and Michael
There was much to be grateful for today and as we sat in our accommodations tonight, here’s what each Santa Teresa Team member was grateful for:

Cathy’s grateful for: ‘I’ve spent my whole life in a pool, so the novelty wore off a long time ago. Today I was grateful to see the smiles on the faces of kids who found so much joy in jumping into the water.”

Rebekah’s grateful: I’m grateful for the amount of thank yous, when I handed students their superstar pennants for the day. It made me happy to see their faces light up just receiving pennant but they were so grateful.

Michael’s grateful: ‘Early morning serenity, and the opportunity to have a run around a dusty red oval in central Australia.’  [Michael made a short video this morning during our training to help the local kids train using the local landscape and facilities. See, he made me run the stairs at the footy oval, AND do leg lifts!

Leg raises at this hour? Really?

Marc’s grateful – “I’m grateful we had a pool (and footballs) in 40 degree heat in the middle of the desert.”

Anthony’s grateful: “I’m grateful that our black ARMtour rashies didn’t spontaneously combust.” 

ME? I’m grateful that Anthony Tockar is my team. The Sydney-based actuary recently won the Australian Karate National Championship in Brisbane and is bringing his martial arts expertise to the community of Santa Teresa. At dusk on the local football oval tonight, he even developed a short video with simple karate exercises for young children and / or teachers to use in the classroom when their students may be lacking energy and / or engagement. 

Anthony came on ARMtour because he heard about the program and believed he could make a valuable contribution to whatever community he was asked to visit. One word to describe his experience in Santa Teresa is “moving”.

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