Thankful for swimming lessons…

Our church likes to go to the beach during special holiday weekends.  So this weekend we went but to a different beach than we normally do.  It’s in the same general vicinity but is accessible by car so no need to pay the inflated boat ride prices.  The drive is one that involves much pot-hole avoiding, goat/cow/dog dodging, and you get the picture…

We were there quite early so we had the pick of the shelters.  The kids also got to enjoy a little egg hunt.  Their reward was that each of them received a hard-boiled egg.  Yum!

The younger guys played a little beach soccer and the kids enjoyed the waves.

Lunch was served in one of the shelters and consisted of different foods brought by each of us.  There was pig meat, cat fish in a curry sauce, some other kind of fish, a leafy vegetable cooked with papaya flowers, other veggies, krupuk, fruit, and of course, rice.

As we were finishing up our lunch we heard some people yelling.  Myself and some other ladies looked out to the ocean and we could see a someone struggling in the water.  Doing the typical waving of the arms and going up and down.  One of the men in our church started to run towards the ocean and tried to get out there.  He was slow in the water and there were others closer, but no one seemed to be doing anything.  (maybe people thought he was playing and the reality is that not many people can swim here.)Hugo realized the situation was serious and ran out on the sand bank before diving in and swimming to the boy.  By the time he reached the boy, he was under the water, unconscious, not breathing and foaming out of the mouth.  He reached out and grabbed the boy in the rescue hold and thought for sure he was carrying a dead boy.  As he swam the boy began to spit up water.  A man came with an inner tube and helped Hugo get him to the sand bank.  Then some men grabbed him and held him upside down.  Hugo tried to get them to put the boy down, which they eventually did.  He continued to spit up water but not breathe. When I saw that the boy was limp I ran down because it seemed we might have to do AR or CPR.  When I got there he had just started to breathe.  His eyes were glassy and he was not focussing.  He did follow my finger when I asked him but could not talk to me.  Then someone handed me a bottle of minyak kayu putih (white wood oil).  I held the bottle under his nose and after that he was able to give a one word reply to my question.  By then a boat had been hailed and we strongly recommended that his parents take him to the nearest medical clinic.  Hopefully there was one at the village across the bay.  Later we read on the internet that water could be remaining in his lungs and that he could still die if that is the case.  All of the training either of us has is what to do until the ambulance gets there.  Well, what do you do when there is no ambulance?  We thank God that at least to our knowledge, there was a positive outcome to this frightening experience.

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About Erica Feunekes

Myself, my husband Hugo and our five kids live and work in Sentani, Papua, with Mission Aviation Fellowship.
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One Response to Thankful for swimming lessons…

  1. Rose Bredenhof says:

    Very scary indeed! Thanks for the reminder to get swimming lessons booked for my youngest.

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