We arrived early Saturday morning to pick up our students from Casa Mantay, and with their babies in tow, they wore the biggest smiles we have seen yet! Referred to the safe-home by the court system, our young women from Casa Mantay are all young mothers or mothers-to-be. Beside the front door of the home is a sign that says, “Here we put into practice the rights of the child.” Casa Mantay promises a better future for both mother and child. That said, we actually were not expecting our students to bring their children to the pool; so with a bit of surprise but not missing a beat, we greeted our students along with their young children and babies. It was sure to be a fun day!
Once we were in the pool, it was clear that many of the girls did not know how to swim. We spent one-on-one time teaching them basics. A few were scared of being more deeply submerged in the water but we helped them feel more comfortable, even getting to the point of floating on their own. It was satisfying to see the girls develop their water skills just in the one and a half hour session we were allotted. In addition to the mini swim-lessons, we brought along a volleyball to use in the pool that we all had fun playing with!
Our morning at the pool was filled with a lot of laughs and smiles. Everyone, girls and children, seemed to really enjoy themselves. What struck us most about the trip was seeing how all of the girls were having a great time. In our usual sports classes during the week we sometimes have students who do not want to participate in a particular activity. However, at the pool, not only was everyone participating but they were all loving their time in the water.
After leaving the pool, we provided the girls and their children with a healthy snack of yogurt, bananas and oranges. Overall, the trip was a success—we were able to engage with the girls in a fun and active setting that differed from our typical classes. It was a great way for them to spend time outside of the house, interacting in a care-free way with us, their children, and each other.