In 2011, in association with Project Dovetail I went to Mauritius in Africa to teach at the SOS orphanage in Beau Bassin. The intention was support the program by teaching some of the children to swim and learn about the work that the SOS organization does around the world.
However arriving with 98 children all eager to go learn, I quickly realized I was ill-prepared to deal with the logistics.
It was suggested by Lisa (the Village Coordinator and heroic lady) that one of the house mothers could learn how to teach so lessons could continue after I had gone.
What seemed like such a simple and obvious suggestion would have a profound affect on me and more importantly Uswim.
One of the House Mothers ‘Josset’ was interested in learning so that night I came up with a quick plan to start simplifying everything I knew so she could understand teaching swimming as quickly as possible.
The next 8 days was one of the most beautiful transformations I have ever seen, as a nervous non-swimmer (Josset would not have survived deep water) who could not speak English (we translated through Lisa) observed, practiced, noted, failed, succeeded, implemented and finally took ownership of the swimming lessons.
In 2012 I returned and was delighted to see Josset and other adults still sticking to the simple program. The effectiveness of the Uswim today owes much to the lessons Josset taught us about program design.
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