Aruna Bariya, 14, (second left) crosses the Heran River in Gujarat state, India.

Aruna Bariya, 14, (second left) crosses the Heran River in Gujarat state, India.

Some of the 60 kids who swim the across shoulder-deep waters on their way to school.

Some of the 60 kids who swim the across shoulder-deep waters on their way to school.

The kids wade right into the river.

The kids wade right into the river.

The kids change into dry clothes to study. They say the swim is worth it for an education.

The kids change into dry clothes to study. They say the swim is worth it for an education.

Rivers To Cross

Posted: November 3, 2014

“The wheels on the bus go round and…”

Wait a second. These kids in India aren’t riding the bus to school. They’re swimming! Their school is on the other side of a river, and there is no bridge. Rivers are a blessing in many ways. They are part of God's design. But they’re also barriers. Just ask the kids paddling through the water!

Each day, 61 teens cross the river. They carry their books, papers, and dry clothes in plastic bags or jugs. They swim about 50 feet to the other side of the Heran River. They put on dry clothes and walk three more miles to Utavali High School.

Swimming saves time. The route to school is 16 miles long if they walk to the nearest bridge.

The students say getting wet is worth it. They cross the river even on stormy days. Many people in India are poor. Attending school can help the teens get better jobs someday.

Rivers are also borders.

• Rivers form borders between nations. The Rio Grande forms part of the border between the United States and Mexico.

• Twelve rivers create borders between states in the United States. The Mississippi serves as a border for eight states.

• Borderlines were usually drawn in the middle of rivers. But over time, rivers move. That’s why today parts of Indiana are on the Illinois side of the Wabash River!