Water, water, everywhere...

At this time of year, with the temperatures regularly hitting over 100° F (40° C), the children seek liquids, shade and most of all, water. The swimming pool is in constant use and is being maintained by our two Bens - Benedikt Kaiser from the RVM mission in Bonn and Ben Ummels, a long term volunteer from the Netherlands. They keep it clean, add chlorine and salt, test ph levels and vacuum each morning. Kate has created a schedule that allows each house of kids to swim six days a week and it is the one thing they are never late or unprepared for. The swimming sessions are great fun, although Benedikt has had to introduce a yellow and red card system for misbehaviour or ignoring the rules. One of our volunteers, Debbie Willis, purchased loads of flotation devices and this enables the little girls in particular to swim safely. The children simply cannot understand why mean old Kate won't let them swim on Sundays, but the volunteers and older boys who supervise need a day off too!

Because daily sessions in the pool just isn't enough, the children from Jan & Oscar House and St. Patrick's House were taken to a water park in Udon Thani. They slid down slides, went around carousels and swam together with some of the teenagers who came along to make sure nobody drowned. It was lovely to see the older kids have as much fun as, and with, the little ones and the day went too quickly. As soon as they got home, the boys from St. Patrick's House asked if they could use the pool!

And last weekend, we had Songkran, when the traditional tribute of sprinkling scented water over the hands of an older person to display respect soon gave way to water fights and soakings. The children played all day long, with the smaller kids splashing about in multiple paddling pools and the older ones using water guns and cannons, bowls, buckets and hoses to douse anyone who crossed their paths. Later in the afternoon, the school bus and a few pick up trucks wound their way into Nong Khai to join in with the community festivities. It was great fun and remains one of the highlights of the year.

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