The pattering of feet as children run with excitement. Girls squealing when they shoot down the slides and splash into the awaiting pool. Laughter. The simple joys of life.

I heard all of those sounds and more when I led our Leelanau Support Team and the Diversificado B class with whom they had been working to the local water park. One of the funnest parts of the support team experience is Saturday, the excursion day! The kids at Safe Passage love this day and look forward to it with anticipation. After a week of working in classrooms, teaching English, and learning more about Safe Passage, teams get to hang out with one of the classes in a setting which allows the cultural and economic boundaries disappear. They can all simply be kids hanging out together at a water park. 

After a day of slides, beach balls, and the wave pool, it was time to head home. On the bus I did a preliminary head count and noticed we were missing a few students. The teacher went to look in the bathrooms where a few of the girls had gone to change. The minutes ticked by as I tried to hide my growing impatience. After about ten or fifteen minutes I began thinking, “How long can it take them to change their clothes?” Finally, the girls filed onto the bus. Noticing their freshly scrubbed faces, another volunteer commented, “I forgot how long the kids stay in the showers.”

Any trace of my impatience and frustration left me as I realized that many of these children do not have showers in their homes. The girls just wanted to feel the water streaming down their face and savor the luxury of washing their hair with all the hot water they could want.  

In that moment, I was reminded of why we are here and why we are doing what we are doing.

–Christiana Jones

Support Team Coordinator

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