Sailing class

The one on the right is Rahim

In an attempt to explain the essence and importance of sportsmanship I told the grade four’s a story. I told them a story that really affected me in grade 10, I told them the story of Pete Goss. Now for those of you who are not familiar with this story, it took place during the Vendee Globe, single-handed round the world sailing race. It took place when Pete Goss turned his boat around in hurricane force winds, abandoning the race that was the pinnacle of his sailing career in order to rescue fellow competitor Raphael Denali who’s boat was floundering.

The next day I had Rahim, one of the grade four students in the staffroom asking me to tell him about sailing. Now, my desk in the absolute worst place in the staffroom because one it is the closest to the door, and two the kids have to go through me to get any balls. Anyway, I was joking around with him and started explaining lift, high and low pressure systems and what makes a sailboat move. I guess I simplified things a little to much because he was pretty excited when he was able to understand diffusion and how water flows around the keel. Finally I made him leave, but he came back to ask if I would give him sailing lessons. I said sure, not expecting anything to come of it.

Right after school he and another grade four boy were hounding me for their sailing lessons. Teaching sailing to kids who have never seen a sailboat in their lives, there’s a first time for everything I suppose. Anyway I ended up with five kids in a classroom all very excited about sailing. I taught them about different parts of the boat, what they do, etc. They were all incredibly enthusiastic and excited.

The next day I taught them a few knots. Their excitement never waned. Rahim came to me that day and asked if he needed to pay for sailing classes. I said no. He said he wanted to anyway, and he had the money in his hand, he had brought 5 birr. It was pretty cute, but I told him to keep the money.

Yesterday, Friday, Rahim came to me and asked if he could talk to me in private. Ok.

“Can I come to Canada with you?” he says. What do you say to that? At first I sort of half laughed, but then I realized he was dead serious.

“I don’t think your parent’s would be too happy about that.” I said. I know his parents, their Baha’i.

“My mom said it’s ok, she said to ask Mr. Galen.”

“Uhh, are you sure she was being serious?”

“Yesss, I know by the way she said it.”

“Umm… it’s a lot of money, where would you get the money for a plane ticket?”

“I don’t know, I have some money in my bank, about 50 birr.”

Despite me telling him that he would need about 35,000 birr he hasn’t given up. ‘If the kids in Canada can sail then why can’t I?’ Well, you were born in a landlocked country for starters. The thing is I would love for him to come back with me and teach him how to sail; he’s a good kid. But… So many buts. He is very determined and keeps coming to talk to me about it, he says he will raise the money. He wanted me to give him ideas of how to fundraise, he wants to bring his 50 birr to school to put it in a box and start saving. All to go to Canada, all to learn how to sail.

“Maybe you could come when you’re a bit older” I tried to tell him.

“But I don’t want to come when I’m older, I want to come now” he replied in the whining voice of a ten year old. I tried.

Pretty soon I had five grade four boys all asking to come to Canada with me. ‘Is Rahim going to Canada with you? Can I come?’ They have started some sort of club to raise money. It’s becoming quite the little drama, and not so little.

When I work on my computer in the staffroom there is a reflection on the screen that gives me a headache. So, I tried to block out the light with a parachute, as you will see in the pictures. I have now set up an office for myself in the computer room which is much better.

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