We woke up at our normal time (a little before 8 a.m.) so we could leave the hotel by 8:30 in order to reach the school a little before 9. We had no class today, but we'd planned a 3-hour recreation period for the kids during which we'd learn a little English and have a lot of fun.
Brad and I volunteered for the basketball station, the one out of the nine field day-type competitions that seemed most appealing to us. True to form, neither one of us planned a format to handle the 20 kids that came to us as each class rotated between stations. So we made it up as we went along, tailoring our activity to the athleticism of each group.
It went surprisingly well. We did lay-up drills, shooting competitions and the three-man weave of all things (if you don't know what this is, I assume you never played organized basketball). With my little Chinese and Brad's acting ability, we convinced them to say in English the action that they were carrying out: pass, shoot, catch. If the shot was successful, we'd make everyone say "make." If not, everyone would have to shout "miss!" The kids learned the word "miss" very well.
After every class had completed each station, we had organized a massive water balloon fight. Two classes would line up, one on each side of a line of water balloons that had been placed in the middle. When the whistle blew, they would rush to the water balloons and begin an all-out war.
As I watched, Brad dropped a balloon the size of Jupiter directly on my back. I couldn't get mad because it felt so good in the mid-day heat, and the kids got a kick out of watching their laoshi (teacher) get doused. A few minutes later, it was utter pandemonium, every man for himself, with water balloons of various sizes flying all over the place. It didn't stop until everyone was drenched and the stash of balloons was exhausted.
It was great to see the kids having a good time. their lives are filled with so many strict rules and regulations. Many of them will be returning to the countryside the day that camp ends. Some will come back for school, renewing friendships they made this week. Others will stay on the farm and help produce income for the family. Either way, this week has been a great escape from the mundane.