We went as a team of 23 diverse people, brought together by a common desire to bring encouragement, hope, practical help and spiritual support to the people of Mish. Ten of our team were teenagers, and this story is from Tippy, who was one of them. It happened on our first full day there and is shared as she told it to me:
Susan said that we needed to set up a buoy line, and I said, "Okay, I can do that," not thinking that the water was going to be as cold as it was. So me, Dylan, Tori, Jared and Max all went down to the water to set it up.
We got everything ready and had anchored the two 50 foot sides and were taking out the 100 foot rope for the back of the buoy line. We anchored part of the 100 foot rope to one of the sides and were taking it across to the other side, when the side that had been attached came undone and was drifting off into the river.
So Max said, "Let's just pull it in," and we said, "No, no, the pool noodles are going to come off the rope," and he kept saying, "No, no, it'll be fine." But of course it wasn't because we could see the end of the rope getting really close to that first pool noodle and were yelling at him to stop.
But then of course the inevitable happened and the pool noodle became detached from the rope and began drifting off into the river.
So at this point Tori and Jared were on the shore holding the ropes and keeping them steady, and Dylan, Max and I were in the water watching the pool noodle drift away. And then Dylan said, "I'm not going to get it," (he couldn't see the bottom of the water,) and Max said, "It's too cold," and I'm standing there thinking, I don't want to let this pool noodle drift away, and I took off my shirt and my glasses and handed them to Dylan, and then I just dove in the water.
I swam out and got the pool noodle, and on the way back there was just silence! I don't think Dylan cared, but I think that Max felt a bit humiliated--he just got showed up a little bit.
They asked me if it was cold, and I said, "Yes, what do you think?" and sent Tori to get a towel. I called them wusses, and Jared said, "Oooh!"I read Tippy's account to Tori today, and she laughed, remembering, and said, "Yes, that's pretty much what happened. except she forgot to mention me yelling, 'Go get it, Dylan!'" Which he didn't.
I only wish that I could have captured every story every day, there were so many funny, sweet, moving and poignant moments but trying to commit them to memory was a losing battle. I did take hundreds of photos but will try to capture some of what we experienced, in words, too.