A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Friday, March 4, 2011

Swimming

One thing that surprises me about Uganda is the many swimming pools it holds. There is even a swimming pool near my house. It’s extremely ghetto. You used to walk through some slums to get there, but they have been torn down and now you just walk through dirt heaps that is starting to resemble a landfill with all the garbage people throw there. Once you get to the pool it’s almost like an oasis. The pool is clean, has music playing and it's full of Ugandans! This is the most surprising part because all the other pools in Uganda seem to be full of white people. Another thing my pool has that is unique is a pile of swim suits for rent. Yes, for rent. If you don’t have a swim suit, or swimming costume as they are called here, you can just rent one for 1000 shillings, about 50 cents. I personally have never needed to use this service but last weekend I witnessed the process for the first time.

I have wanted to take Grace swimming for months/a year. I finally got around to it last weekend. Grace and I boarded a taxi and headed off to the pool where we met up with Celeste and her little neighbor Pauline. What followed was four hours of fun. Neither Grace or Pauline had ever been swimming before. I sewed a pair of my swim suit bottoms tight for Grace to wear and gave her a tank top. Celeste didn’t have anything to offer Pauline so she rented a swim suit from the pile. It was actually pretty cute and we figured it wasn’t so gross for little kids.


Grace and Pauline clung to the edge extremely hesitant to take any steps further into the kiddy pool. They also are not used to the sport of swimming and found themselves getting very cold just standing in the water. Their little lips shivered and I imagined they turned blue though with black skin it’s difficult to tell. After a few hours, they found a little more boldness and began splashing around. They LOVED swimming and both went home claiming having learned to swim. It was a very successful day at the pool. Now, I have to hear stories about Grace and her new friend Pauline and the time they learned how to swim. Oh, and hear the question, “when will we go again?”



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