One day in July while in Habanero, Dominican Republic some children came up to me and said “aqua, aqua, canal, canal”. My brain quickly translated their “English” into – “Come with us, the water is running in the canal today!” So we headed off to a cement water irrigation canal that runs from the river across the field behind our school and into the Yucca fields beyond. I had been invited to be a special guest as the children took off on their adventure!
As we walked I quickly realized this was also a hunt for food. Hunger is a part of the children's lives and so whatever you are doing includes keeping a keen eye out for food. Almonds, crab and fruit can been found if one is on the lookout. After walking about 1/4 mile we reached the canal and a dozen children started frolicking in the cool water. At first I tried to walk on the concrete side of the canal balancing as best I could with the help of the children. I wasn’t exactly dressed for this, plus the bottom of the canal looked pretty slimy and icky. I was regretting I had only worn my flip flops. The water looked cool and inviting, but sheesh, who knows what could be in it. Of course all the children were barefoot! In the sweltering afternoon heat I soon overcame my fears of the canal bottom and joined the children. How refreshing! Not only the water, but to be free of those adult fears that come with the knowledge of what might happen to us walking through a third world canal. The innocence of childhood allows those children a simple freedom I no longer enjoy. Although being with them certainly is an inspiration to be more childlike and enjoy the gifts that are right before our eyes!