On a Friday midday we were walking back home from a friend’s house. It had been grey and raining for a full day, but the sun had just come out in all it’s brilliance. All the wet green foliage was shining. Friday is the day off. On Friday people sleep in. They eat a good lunch. And if they can, they sit and talk with friends and neighbors. People who do the ritual prayers only on Friday noon make a bigger deal of having a more complete bath. And so the pond was FULL of happy weekend revelers. The huge pond was at monsoon levels and almost lapped onto the road. Women in one corner were bathing and washing clothes. Men were were doing the same, heads full of suds. And at least ten rowdy teenage boys, their brown bodies gleaming wet, were leaping & splashing, making a ruckus. . pushing each other in, and then jumping out again to make another dive.

Elias was giggling as he held our hands and walked his snail’s pace past this pond fun. He can’t swim yet. Water is a mystery. He gets a laugh at splashing his sister, and he enjoys sitting in a full bucket. But as for swimming and diving, it’s a new idea. “When I get older, Momma, I will swim and play on a tire.” I hope that those sort of happy times will come soon.

Elias turned around and laughed at the boys diving and pushing. An older man, his body submerged up to his neck, was holding onto the brick ledge and watching my son. He called him over. Elias, with a little bit of happy hesitation, went closer. “Do you want to have a bath?” Then the man with a big smile, cupped his hands full of water and poured it into my son’s hands. What a happy gift.

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