Thursday, May 10, 2012


I am late in posting this, but I guess late is better than never. (although I think it depends on what is late.)

Two Saturdays ago I had a rather eventful day. To begin with I was at work. That in itself wasn't eventful, at least at this moment I can't think of anything that happened. Around ten o'clock I headed to pick up Kenna and her friend, Victoria, her friend's mom (my friend, Danielle) and another friend to go and spend the day at the pool to celebrate a birthday. To relax at the pool all day, or as long as the girl's were entertained, sounded glorious. Danielle and I have been trying to meet every Saturday at the pool with the kids. The kids to play, but for us to relax in the sun and catch up on things. It has been great.

This time it was to be more relaxing. We didn't have any "smaller" kids with us. We were confident that the girl's weren't going to drowned if we weren't watching them none-stop.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was bright, there was a cool breeze, and some cloud cover... and no one was there.

That, however, changed within an hour of arriving. A Ugandan man with his two small children showed up. The pool has two kiddie pools, one that is only a foot deep and one that is about three feet deep. Wisely the man took his children to the shallower of the two pools. As I was laying on the side of the deeper of the two pools, I watched as he put the kids in. They were both just standing there. One child was about three, the other maybe 18 months. The man was still standing by the side of the pool. I turned my head to talk with Danielle. When I turned my head back the smallest child was face down next to the three year old. I looked to the father.. he was just standing there, calling, "Ssebo." (which means sir), but very calmly. It didn't click in my head that something was wrong. The ssebo, which turned out to be the "lifeguard" (I use that term loosely, as they really don't watch the pools like lifeguard in the US do), stepped into the pool and grabbed the child. Of course, by then the child came up sputtering. Actually at first she made no noise, then started sputtering. In hind sight I should have just jumped up and ran over to make sure, but I didn't because the father was not three feet away and wasn't panicked. Eventually the child started to cry, but that was a good sign. Gosh... so much for relaxing.

I now felt like I had a duty to keep my eye on her. I was not about to have a child drown while I was there.

Not long after that incident our food came. So we moved closer to the steps of the three foot pool. By then another family had come, they had three small children. This family however, had both the mom and the dad watching and playing with their kids in the pool. They even brought some large blow-up toys, an alligator, a lounge chair and some smaller things. As they were playing in that pool, with all the pool toys there, the 18 month old wandered over. The father, he was busy talking with another man and drinking a beer.

Danielle and I both watched as the little girl got closer and closer to the steps. Still no notice from the father. Even the other children and the father that was with them didn't seem to notice her approaching. I think it was within seconds of me saying to Danielle, "She is going to keep on walking off the steps and go under.", that sure enough she toddled her way onto and down the steps within seconds. As soon as she took that last step that made her go under.... I shot up and out of my chair, wrap and all and jumped in after her. Grabbed her, almost slipping under with her..

I think the only one who realized what was going on was Danielle. Kenna told me later that she was wondering why I had suddenly decided to jump in the water, I never go swimming to swim. The father of the other children was not two feet away but because of all the pool toys, didn't notice the child go under. The little girl's father hadn't even realized his daughter went under until I had walked out of the pool with his daughter and was heading his way. Of course, he said, "Thank you , thank you."

I felt like smacking him. He had already witnessed his child almost drowning without him jumping in to save her, why in the world did he let her out of his sight? It was later that I realized, or thought to myself, that the reason he probably didn't jump in after his child, was because he, himself probably didn't know how to swim and was therefore terrified of the water.

Moral of that story... at least here, when I go to the pool, regardless of whom I have with me.. I will always have to be on my guard, because it would be absolutely terrible if a child drowned while I was around.

I think part 2 of my day will be in another post. Somehow, talking about my late afternoon after relaying the story of the near drowning doesn't seem to flow. So although the title is "monkey" that will be in part 2.

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