Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tiffany and Becka's adventures--day 7 Day 7 didn't quite go as planned. It was supposed to be a total "play in water" day with lots of swimming in beautiful clear waters and playing on white sand beaches. We started the morning by going to a great snorkeling place. We rented snorkeling masks and some flippers. Tied Gilby up to a coral reef thingee and got wet. Tiffany and Rebecca took off to go snorkeling, while I gave my students quick lessons on spitting into the mask to clean it and on breathing through your mouth while floating in the water. They tried for awhile, and I went to check on Tiff and Becka. The water was mostly shallow, but there was this 3-4 meter space that was a little deep--maybe 10 or 12 feet deep, and then it got shallow again. My students got to that part and tried to decide how to best cross. They had told me they were all swimmers but didn't feel confident in their swimming ability--most pools in Taiwan are no more than 4 feet deep, so "swimmers" can stand up at anytime. I helped one across with her holding onto my ankle, and thought the others were going to go rent some life jackets. I hadn't seen Tiff and Becka in awhile--coral reef rocks blocked my view. So, I went to go check on them while my students went to go get life jackets. Tiffany and Becka were fine and having fun, so I headed back to where my students would be. I heard one of them scream my name, so I started to swim a little faster. As I rounded the coral rock that blocked my view of where they were, I saw one of my students floating bottom up in the water far away from the other girls. All I saw where Judy's pink shorts bobbing in the water--an image I will never, ever forget. Panic flooded my heart. Adrenaline flooded my bloodstream. And, I swam as quickly as I could to get to her. After I got to her, I pulled her back across the gap until I could stand, flipped her over, and started breathing into her mouth. As I started to breathe for her, I realized all color had left her face except for her purple lips and that her eyes had rolled into the back of her head. At this point, I thought she was gone, and the first thing I thought was "she is not a Believer yet. Don't let her die!" Then, I screamed "NO!" from the depth of my gut as I silently started to pray, pinched her nose and started to breathe into her again. All kinds of images and thoughts flooded my head in rapid succession, but I continued to breathe for her as we slowly dragged her up until the water was much more shallow, and we could lay her on the ground. The other students had yelled for help and a nearby snorkeling guide came over...

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