8:30am, Khalil and I head to the dive center. On the way, I asked Khalil what he imagined he would grow up to do… “Nurse, I always wanted to help others, after my accident, I enrolled in a first aid and CPR course”.
There we were met by Ernst and Ali Bin Thaleth who generously offered to photograph Khalil’s dive. We got into our wetsuits, assembled our gear and headed to the pool.
Before his briefing, Khalil shared details of his accident with the group. He said, “That day, I decided to bathe. Because of the air-strikes, I had gone for nearly a month without bathing. I prayed at the mosque, and headed home, where my brothers and I sat in our living room. Within minutes, we heard noises, an explosion on our street, people screaming. We ran to our grandmothers’ home. There, we were joined by a neighbor and her children. ”
“Thirteen of us huddled in a room; when the shell hit, my youngest brother was thrown out of his chair, and laid motionless in my mothers’ arms. My other brother was running around the room, face covered with blood, screaming; the neighbor’s chair was struck from beneath, and folded onto her and minutes later, I felt nothing. I could hear them calling my name, I thought I was answering, but my breath withheld the sound.”
“I could hear them call my name.. but I was covered with rubble; the side wall had collapsed and landed on my legs. I vaguely remember being transported to the hospital in a car. I became conscious at dawn the next morning, looking across I saw the doctor praying. I asked about my brothers, the doctor told me to pray.”
Transitioning back to where we were physically after Khalil’s emotional account was more difficult for us than it was for him. He was ready to dive.
Khalil was in the pool until 12:30, completed Confined Dive 2 & 3. He practiced swimming with the webbed gloves Mahmoud bought for him to support his movement in water.
To my surprise, Khalil performed the CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascend) with relative ease, an exercise many dive students had to repeat several times before perfecting it.
Thanks Lisa Katayama, Joichi Ito for documenting Khalil’s lesson. (All photos taken by Joi are licensed under the Creative Commons)
Thank you Rabea Ataya and Ruba Tabari for stopping by to check on Khalil’s progress and cheer him on.
Thank you Ali for taking amazing photos of Khalil, which we will share with the public in the near future.
Thank you Mahmoud for bringing the gloves, and a big thanks to Ernst, your patience and care for Khalil is an example for all of us.
Next step.. Khalil has to complete Chapters 4 & 5, and head to the Open Water… please stay tuned.