5 Minutes of My Day: Naked Fish
There’s nothing in this world much more universally adorable than a bare baby bottom. It’s one of those naturally beautiful things, the innocence of a little kid. It makes me laugh like nothing else to see those baby buns bouncing along the ocean shoreline or standing in the tub waiting for mom to start their bath. Children are children, and man are they cute… no matter where you are.
“Lets keep the kids from the community out of the ocean today. It’s pretty choppy and could have a strong undercurrent.”
Pastor and I chat about the day and things to keep in mind. Cool, no babies in the water. I can handle that. As I walk to breakfast, I realize the sun is roasting and its only been up for an hour. I get the team started with construction at a local home in the village, tree planting throughout the community and prayer walking door to door… its hot and hard work, mid-June in Haiti. The team must be looking forward to kids ministry on the beach later. On the beach you can catch some amazing breezes floating in off the ocean, cool and salty. But we’ve had some bad storms for the past couple of days, the typical slightly tumultuous water is churning so hard that its all black.
“Betanee!” hearing my name called breaks me out of my thoughts. It’s my little friend from the community, Peter. He’s about 6 or 7 and has a smile a mile wide. As we walk to check on lunch, he tries to match my strides and we talk about how short his legs are. I ask him why he isn’t in school but he doesn’t answer… he wants to talk about Soccer. “Ou vle jue av’em pita?” Do you want to play with me later? He knows the drill. “Wi, pita.” Yes, later I say. As I check on lunch he plays with a gecko he caught at the well. I tell him to go home and eat and come back in 2 hours for play time.
About 30 mins later, Peter is back. Waiting outside the gates at the beach for our team. Slowly, more and more children arrive. I tell the team about keeping the kids out of the water and making sure to have a buddy during Sports Ministry, so we can keep an eye on the little ones. I tell them of Naked-Fish.
naked-fish (\nā-kəd fish), noun, 1. a popular name for a sushi restaurant. 2. an adorable child, swimming wild and free without a stitch of clothing.
Game time is underway and after about 30 minutes, I go to prepare for our next ministry. As I’m walking to the house, it begins to rain. I take about 6 more steps. tick, tak, tick, tak, tick, tak. My heart skids to a stop. It’s raining…the kids.
I race back to the ocean and there they are, all 70+ children running wildly to the ocean, Peter leading them on like he’s the General of a Naked Fish army. T-shirts, jeans, shoes, you name it are flying wildly into the air as they strip down before diving in at the last second. It’s the single most terrifying and adorable sight, they haven’t a care in the world. But boy oh boy, do I. I can just see their little minds doing the math. If you’re already going to be wet, why not jump in the ocean? Mom can’t get mad about that, right? Pretty good logic. But in my mind, all I can think of is the Pastor’s words. “Keep the children out of the ocean.”
My team reacts in one of two ways: with severe concern (as they are right to do) or with gut-busting laughter. Some are trying to get the kids to come back in broken Creole. “Vini!” Come! I hear some of them yelling. Some of the men are re-enacting the littlest ones throwing their underwear behind them without a second thought.
Quickly, some of our Haitian ATLs and I get the kids back onto the beach. It’s pouring now and we’re all soaked. The threat of a child being caught in the current has faded and we are gearing up for what’s going to be a legit mud-fight. We end the ministry time with each person re-telling their version of the event, all the while laughing till our stomachs ache.
Cool, no babies in the water. It’ll be easy, I can do that, right?
5 Minutes of My Day is a series of the more intimate moments in our ministry. Launching off of something Eric said to me one day: “When you are overwhelmed or stressed and Satan is on you, focus on the little things. The small moments that make you remember why you live this life. Why you love this ministry.” So here it is. Snapshots of 5 minutes of my day.