Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mekong Swim

Following the Mekong Swim (see earlier post) Asia Life published an article about my schools swim team - written by the children themselves. Here it is:

On Apr. 5 many of the Penh’s adult community swam the mighty Mekong River, but four eleven-year-old children from iCAN, who were raising money for the Cambodia’s Dump Children Committee caught the eye. This month we give you Jessica Rendall, ‘Rapid’ Regis Seng, Sarah Wong and Sowon Hak, who truly are the Penh’s next generation.

Jessica (lying)Swimming the Mekong River felt tiring and fun. It was also scary knowing what could possibly happen to me if I wasn’t careful. I felt really, really, really proud of myself for doing something different for a change and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. When I first saw the length I had to swim, I was pretty sure that there was no way I was going to make it across. When I got in the water to warm up, I took another look at the distance and realised that it wasn’t that far at all. During the swim, I was pretty tempted to wave my hand in the air and give up, but I looked at the other side and saw the children from Cambodia’s Dump Children Committee (CDCC) smiling and thought that if I were to give up I would feel guilty, because of all the children I had let down. That gave me an urge to give it all I had and finish what I had started. I was feeling nervous already, when on top of that, the photographer from the AsiaLIFE magazine was there to take pictures of us to feature in their magazine. It was a chance of a lifetime and I had a rainbow of feelings, but I was glad that I did it and will definitely never forget, my Mekong River swim experience. (Jessica swam the Mekong in 17.03)

Rapid (right)I did it!!! It was a massive experience for me to swim across the Mekong River! I can remember going to watch the Mekong River swim last year, when I couldn’t really swim at all, and wondered whether I’d ever be a good enough swimmer to do that. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. I thought the mighty Mekong River was going to be very deep and cold, but instead the water was warm and kind of refreshing. It didn’t smell really bad either, as I thought it might. But the scariest thing is that you can’t see what’s in the water at all – it was just dark brown! I think that the Mekong River swim is a very challenging thing for people to do because if you swim straight to where you’re heading, the current will push you far away. I was feeling a bit dizzy with my new, and fashionable, swimming cap, but it was all right because when I went into the water I felt soooo much better. When I reached half way about 400m, I felt like I had just swum two lengths of our school swimming pool. I would love to do it again because it was a very challenging experience for me and I thought that I couldn’t reach the end, but fortunately I did it. (Rapid swam the Mekong in 15.43)

Sarah (left) On Sunday, we swam the Mekong River and it was an incredible experience. I felt both excited and nervous. When I saw how long it was I felt a bit nauseous but did it anyway, because I knew it would be a fun thing to try. It was very exhausting and I don’t think I have ever swum so hard and so much in my life! While swimming the river, I wanted to give up because I was completely wiped out, but I urged myself to get to the end. No turning back now! When I finally got up to the bank I felt as if I was going to flop over. But the support of my friends and family made me walk up the muddy steep hill. I feel proud and now I can say: “I’ve swum the Mekong River!’’ C.D.C.C will also get brand new bikes and I feel great that I have helped to make that happen. I feel good about myself that I have achieved something so huge. The amazing feeling I get when someone tells me how proud they are, is when I knew it was definitely worth not giving up! (Sarah swam the Mekong in 18.30)

Sowon (middle)First when I saw how much I needed to swim I was thinking inside my head that it was far and I couldn’t do it. When the race started I was very nervous. After I had swum about half way I thought that it wasn’t too bad after all. I really enjoyed it a lot. Now CDCC are going to have bicycles and I am very proud of myself that I swam the Mekong River. (Sowon swam the Mekong in 15.11)

In total Sarah, Sowon, Jessica and Regis raised US$1,000 for CDCC, which will be matched on behalf of iCAN by its Director, Elain Younn. The grand total of US$2,000 should be enough to buy 50 bicycles and cycle helmets for the children at CDCC.