It has been a hectic month, lots going on for the Nile Swimmers team, both in our personal lives, but also with the Nile Swimmers Projects. Yesterday, Dan boarded a plane at London Heathrow, carrying 77kg of resources – and headed out to a country recovering from the brink of civil war, struggling with millions of refugees from other countries, to meet some people he’d never met before, to teach a course in another language. Sounds like the perfect start to another Nile Swimmers Project.
OK, I can hear the questions now: Why so many resources? Isn’t Nile Swimmers all about locally sustainable solutions?
Yes it is. But Lebanon is not a normal Nile Swimmers Project. Lebanon is quite different – thanks to an amazing lady called Laudy Asseily who runs the Lebanese International Swim Academy (LISA). Originally, she got in touch with the RLSS (UK) asking if they had any instructors who can teach in French. Very quickly, they got in touch with us. The idea was to fly an instructor over to run a Bronze Medallion class to a small group of kids. Easy. As time went by, that group of kids expanded… and was capped at 36!! Then the idea of running an instructor course came up – and suddenly the whole thing started to get a lot more sustainable.
I am sitting now writing this, about 45 minutes before we are due to start the first class. This week, we are training 9 instructors to become RLSS (UK) qualified Lifesaving Instructors. This weekend, we will then be supporting those instructors in delivering a Bronze Medallion programme to the 36 children…. in a strange mix of English, French, and Arabic.
That is why we have 77kg of resources… because the RLSS use really nice heavyweight paper all their manuals. Which is why with the manuals that have been developed by the RNLI / IFSTA / RLSS / Plan International / Nile Swimmers working group, the manuals are available electronically for printing locally. Sustainability. If this programme in Lebanon is going to grow and flourish then it needs to be driven by Lebanese people like Laudy.