Believe it or not, there is a swimming pool in Dharan, Nepal! I know that it is very common and we probably take it for granted that there will be a pool in most towns in the U.S. But when you move to a third world country to live and work as a missionary, you just don’t expect a swimming pool. So, I am happily surprised about this!
My whole family went to the pool yesterday, including sari-wearing Ama, who sat on the side and watched. Ama asked what that blue stuff was (the water in the pool.) I am the only one in my family who knows how to swim. So it is a particularly fun adventure that I get to teach my family this recreation. We didn’t know about the pool the first year we were here.
Yesterday, we chose the wrong day of the week to go, on Saturday. There were probably about 75 people at the pool, all men and boys. And then there was me, in my long shorts and t-shirt, of course, and Maya.Women were there, sitting on the balcony overhead watching. About 65 of those men and boys were in the 3-4 feet, since they too, do not know how to swim. This whole swimming pool idea is a new concept to them, and pools are not found in most places in Nepal. (Dharan is basically a big place for retired Gorkha soldiers from the British army.) You can imagine how crowded it was with everyone crowded in the same area, jumping around and holding onto the walls. Every time you turn around, you get kicked in the leg or splashed in the face!
My family all had a great time anyway. The boys had never been to a swimming pool before so this is especially exciting for them. Nanda can’t really go under due to his ear issue, but the boys are quickly learning how to swim. The first two times we went, Kumar practiced kicking and breathing under water, then swimming underwater, and this time he jumped off the side for the first time. Prakash has graduated to cannonballs, thanks to his auntie who grew up near a pool and has two older brothers. Maya is not afraid of the water at all. She’s not really afraid of anything for that matter. She likes to kick her feet in her pink floatie and chase people. She went the whole width of the pool chasing after her daddy. At the snack section, she noticed that they sold goggles, and she really wanted some. I thought it was a good investment, considering the 65 men and boys kicking water in our faces.
After being there for about an hour, we noticed that there was a baby pool. I took Maya over there and she had much more fun where she could actually stand, but still swim if she wanted to. The baby pool was also surrounded by women, mothers of the children, all dressed in their long pants and panjabis with no intentions of getting in the water.
Maya brought her new, pink goggles to bed and wore them while we read a book. She fell asleep holding them. It was a good family day.