Coming back from our field trip in Chinchero after a fun and exhilarating day, these girls couldn’t stay seated for all the singing and dancing they were doing.
You see when Kat and I plan a field trip we go ALL OUT. There is no holding back from our girls the opportunities we think they deserve a chance to experience.
Virgen del Rosario was the school we chose to take paddle boarding in the town of Chinchero for their first field trip of the year with us. When we told the girls about the field trip a few weeks ago we received the expected chorus of little girl screams. When we asked if they understood what paddle boarding was, our ears were impaled by another round of excited screams.
These girls had no idea what they were about to experience.
The Saturday of the field trip rolled around and we arrived at 8:00am to the school where 15 girls stood on the knoll eagerly looking down the hill for our arrival. We piled into vans and took off on our hour drive to Chinchero.
Once there the girls couldn’t wait to see what a “paddle” was. Alvaro, the owner of SUP Cusco had the girls stand in two groups to start the day, one group was the group that knew how to swim, the second group were the ones who didn’t. Only Kat and I stood in the group that knew how to swim.
This was going to be interesting.
Despite their inability to swim and inexperience with a paddle board they fearlessly began making their way out to the center of the lake, some with a bit more success than others.
Eventually we all made it out and slowly we encouraged the girls to stand up on their feet and find their balance. Soledad made it up first and she just took off becoming our paddle boarding machine of the day. The others took their time. Then…
The first fall of the day and the first girl in the water. Zayeli bobbed on the surface of the water surprised, but realizing she was floating and ok she began to smile. The others soon began to wonder: What does the water feel like? Will I float too?
I paddled over to our littlelest Chica Dinamica, Luz Anel, and asked her if she’d ever been swimming before. She said no. So I asked if she’d like to try today. She looked at me a little scared and asked, “¿Voy a hundir?” (will I sink?). I told her to watch me first as I slid off my board and into the water. She looked with excitement and fear, but got down on her knees. “¿Quieres que to ayudo?” (do you want me to help you?). “Tengo miedo” (I’m scared). I told her, “I know Luz, it’s ok. But being afraid doesn’t mean you don’t have courage. Grab my hand. I’ve got you.”
She wrapped both her arms around my neck and it’s a good thing she was so tiny or I might have gone under. We counted to three and she let herself fall into the water for the first time in her life. She did it! She faced her fear! And her little arms of courage were wrapped around my neck making me humbled to know I was experiencing this special moment with her.
So many other “Luz Anels” got their chance to be courageous despite their fears that day. That’s what our job is all about. Standing back, arms, crossed, smiling, and thinking to ourselves, “Those are our girls. They did it!” And that is something worth singing and dancing about.