Monday, 18 December 2017

Life's a beach

The children's faces light up as soon as they hit the beach, writes Elizabeth Gomm.
The white sand warm beneath their feet, they are soon in their swimsuits and while the older ones run towards the crystal clear waters of the Indian ocean, the little people plonk themselves down to build sandcastles.
Each child does their own thing, some quite happy to dig away on their own, whilst others prefer to play together giggling as their castles get bigger.
The oldest kids stay nearer the water, where the sand is wet and more compact and better for the game of football.
The tide is just turning and starting to come in when we arrive, so the beach is still vast.  Teachers go down to water with the children who want to go into the sea.  It's a splashing time. 
Peter and David lie in the shallows, their tummies touching the sand, and pretend they are swimming. Nickson grabs a hand full of seaweed and runs around showing it off.
A beach boy brings over a puffer fish and a couple of starfish for the children to inspect.
He answers their questions before returning the fish, all puffed up, to the sea..
The fresh air and freedom of being on the beach brings absolute joy to our family.
Aspiring acrobats have a practice with the soft sand making an ideal landing surface, and the oldest kids, football game over, clamber up on the rock . From the distance they look like characters in a scene from a children's adventure story! 
At snack time they all gather to enjoy halves of mango, juicy and sweet. Elizabeth, already covered in sand, now has sand mixed with mango juice all over her face.  She's a picture of concentration and contentment!
Snacks over, they return to their play.
Look around and there are clusters of Happy House kids all over the beach -. Girls walking and talking; small kids jumping in the shallows; boys doing cartwheels . Everyone is happy and, as ever, there is never any squabbling.
Our kids are the most amazing people. They are, as there Mama has taught them, a caring and sharing family.
They love and help each other.
When it's time to get ready to leave, they change into their clothes in the beach shelter and then gather for the long walk back to Happy House. It's nearing noon and the sun is blazing.
I walk back with Rose Safari, Neema Kanze and David Hayward.  David isn't too fast so we are near the back.
The kids chat away to me as we go, Rose asking lots of questions.
On the lane leading to Happy House, David stops to talk to a goat.
We see two massive spiders, and Neema goes looking for squirrels. She's stung by nettles put knows which leaves to rub on the sting to ease it.
By now, we  have lost sight of the others as we dawdle with David but we're having such an interesting time it really doesn't matter.
When we eventually get home, the kids run off to take showers and wash off the sand, before lunch.
It's been a morning of pure pleasure and I am so happy I was there to share it.