At first, there was only about a half-dozen students there, which seemed like a fun and manageable group. However, they kept coming, and eventually I ended up with 21 students. We decided to hike about a mile along the road and over the ridge to the beach where the Blenheim River empties into the Atlantic. The picture below shows the students climbing the long steep hill out of our village, with the Atlantic Ocean behind them.http://atlantiqueview.com/ for more information). A few of the villagers work there, but most of the students had never seen it before, so we decided to walk up the steep hill to let them see the nice landscaping, the beautiful views, and the fancy swimming pool. The picture below is taken from the resort's website, and provides a nice view of the two upper pools and the large bar/patio area. see this previous blog story with a picture of our local “pool”. They had never been in a "real pool" with clear, chlorinated water, much less one with different levels, waterfalls, and “infinity edge” views of the Atlantic. Their joy was readily apparent and they proceeded to have a fantastic time. I was too busy supervising to take pictures, but I did manage to take the one shown below before I put my phone in a dry place for safekeeping.
Everybody got a bite of everything, but obviously it wasn't a filling lunch. Jesus did a much better job feeding the multitudes with some fish and bread than I was able to do with my students. However, they were still so excited from our pool party that no one complained. They were still on “cloud nine.”
We then started our mile-and-a-half road hike up and down the hills back to our village. Occasionally, the students would stop to “forage” for mangoes (which are just beginning to ripen), fatpoke (or perhaps fat pork, which is similar to a grape that grows on bushes), and other wild foods. When we arrived back in the village, I was cajoled into spending another $15 to buy “ice pops” for everyone as a reward for completing our big adventure.
It was when digging out that $15 to pay for my purchase that I realized I had forgot something—the $25 change from the hotel front desk. OOOPS! I certainly wasn't going to walk all the way back to ask about it (assuming the same woman would still be on duty). Back in the United States, I would sometimes listen to Dave Ramsey's radio talk show about personal finances. Ramsey refers to money mistakes as a “stupid tax.” Sometimes you have to pay a “stupid tax” in order to make sure you don't make that mistake again. I guess I will just need to write off that $25 as a stupid tax I paid. Hopefully, I will get paid back with some sort of “positive karma” since this was such a good cause.
Overall, I “unexpectedly” spent $135 on this little hike to celebrate our “unexpected” day off. However, one of the many lessons the Peace Corps is teaching me is that the more one gives, the more one gets in return. While I can't afford to do this all the time, I've learned down here that money is not nearly as important as the unabashed happiness I saw on 21 young faces that afternoon. Just like the old MasterCard commercials, their smiles were “priceless.” It was an epic adventure to a luxurious pool that they will long remember!