Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Video: Crimean dissidents silenced by Moscow

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

France refuses to return cultural artifacts to Benin

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France's Fillon insists President Hollande is behind efforts to tarnish him

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Mass graves bear witness to growing violence in DR Congo

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen meets French troops in Chad

Read more

THE DEBATE

Westminster attack: What response to parliament rampage? (part 2)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Westminster attack: What response to parliament rampage? (part 1)

Read more

FOCUS

A day in the life of an Indian entrepreneur

Read more

Africa

Notebook 1: Thank you, Mr. Pedru

Text by Marie Sophie JOUBERT , Special correspondent on board the Floréal in the Indian Ocean

Latest update : 2009-03-04

Our special correspondent Marie-Sophie Joubert is aboard the Floréal frigate, accompanying a military manhunt for Somali pirates. Her first day made her nostalgic for her old PE teacher.

Saturday, February 28, 2009 – Day one on the Floréal

 

My first thought on boarding the Floréal – the military frigate towering over six metres in height – was that of my primary school physical education (PE) teacher, Mr. Pedru. I doubt he’d remember me, but at this moment my memories of him are crystal clear.

 

In particular, I remember how passionately he tried to teach us to climb ropes, and climb up the metal ladder attached to one of the outside walls of the school.

 

Now, 20 years later, I am actually putting it into practice. I’m completely soaked after a half-hour on the high seas in the zodiac boat. My Blackberry has basically become a fishless aquarium. My shoes are slippery and my hands are greasy, and in this state I have to climb up a rope ladder that’s been tossed down the ship’s hull. And the Floréal hasn’t stopped moving the whole time.

 

My heart raced – out of excitement though, not fear. I was so grateful for Mr. Pedru’s PE classes. In the midst of chaos my reflexes sharpened, my eyes were fixed to the goal, and not on what was below my feet. Especially important considering that what lay below me now was not exactly a gym mat.

 

Up went one foot, then one hand. Then the opposite foot and the other hand. I’m ecstatic. Again with the left hand and foot – but not together! Finally, a hand reaches from the top to pull me the rest of the way. I almost don’t want to grab it. Is my climb already over? It was just for one moment, but what memories it brought back. Thanks again, Mr. Pedru.

 

 

 

Date created : 2009-02-28

COMMENT(S)