My apologies for taking forever to post…there were issues with Internet and issues with my laziness 🙂 But no worries, I didn’t die!! So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Honduras Day 9:
Journal Day 9 May 21, 2013
Today was a tad different for us because we went to our first rural school!! We went to breakfast at 7:00 and had fruit, cornflakes, pancakes, and juice. Again, even though the honey isn’t something I’m used to eating on pancakes, they were so good!
We packed up all the supplies we had organized the night before and loaded them into the big van and car we were taking to Guayabiya, our first rural school that was about 15 minutes away from where we’re staying. I volunteered to take my suitcase to carry the food, but unfortunately, the wheel broke in the transfer process (sorry mom and dad…guess it’s a good thing I’m working this summer!).
When we got to the school, it was the most interesting thing. The school really was out in the middle of nowhere, right off the highway. We pulled into the school grounds and saw 3 small buildings surrounding a courtyard area. The buildings were small and slightly worn down, but they seemed to serve their purpose. After unloading all the supplies in a small room, we all got a warm welcome from the students sitting in the multi-purpose room when we walked in and sat down. Apparently, these students have been waiting for us to come all year! We couldn’t wait to start working with them and playing with them.
We all sat down as the guests of honor and found out that the students had a performance to put on for us! Some of the older girls got up front and said some poems for us in Spanish, which Eloisa so kindly translated. Then, the girls did a dance for us…to Gangnam Style! It was really cute and so awesome that they took time to get that ready for us. After that, the younger students put on a fashion show of sorts for us. They all walked in one and a time and walked around the room to music while striking poses and strutting their stuff. It was so cute!
The surprise came when we found out that we, too, would have to model for the students! So we all did the same thing: we walked around the room to music and struck some poses while the 26 students looked on and clapped and laughed with us.
After everyone settled down from all the excitement, we were instructed to pick a number, entre uno y trece, and do the activity that corresponded to our number. Some people had to tell a joke, some had to sing a song, some had to dance, and others had to model again. I had to answer the question, “What do you like about our country so far?” I tried my hand at answering in Spanish, so I told the students I liked the warm weather, swimming in the pool, the cats (of course), the schools, and the food. When everyone was done, we got a hand-made card or note from one of the kids. Some wrote letters, and others wrote song lyrics. It was really cute. We all danced together at the end, and they played, “Danza Kuduro,” a song we’ve all grown to like while here in Honduras, so we got really into it.
We did some art projects with the kids next. The teachers showed us how to make little flower pots with butterflies out of plastic 2-liter bottles, so we cut those out and decorated them with the students. In that activity, we were the students and the kids were the teachers, so they showed us what to do and we got to make them. They wanted to help out, of course. The kids had lunch when we were done with the projects, and we saw where their lunches came from. They each had a bowl with rice, beans, and tortillas. No meat, no dessert. Some of the moms of the students were the ones who cooked for them all, which is so completely different from the cafeteria that I was used to in my elementary school days. Not only was that different, but the fact that these students ranged from K-6, with a couple of 15 year olds with learning disabilities, were in the same classroom all the time! That is so different from what I’m used to, and I’m sure it is a huge challenge for the teacher. And yes, there was one teacher. We learned from the principal’s translated speech that the school has 3 tenured positions available from the government, but with so few students, the government might take them away from the school. Another thing we learned was that in the urban schools, everyone likes the Honduran Minister of Education because he’s encouraging students to stay in school through 9thgrade instead of just 6th grade to get a degree, but it doesn’t work in the rural schools because students don’t see the need to go that long and therefore get no degree. It was just a really interesting perspective.
After lunch, we went back to the multi-purpose room to dance a little bit with the students. Then, it was time to start our art project with them! We decided that we wanted to make paper chains with them: 1 chain would be a personal chain that had goals the students had completed throughout the year, and the other would be a class chain with compliments written on each link so that if a student was having a bad day, they could pull a link off the chain and read it and feel better. There was a huge language barrier in that these kids knew almost no English, so Laura did an amazing job explaining the project in Spanish to them! We got to work helping them cut out strips of paper and writing on and decorating them. Some of the younger students didn’t really understand what was supposed to be on the chains (some wrote, “I have a dog,” and things like that), and others didn’t know the difference between their individual chain and the class chain, so we ended up just connecting all the chains! It turned out to be really cute though. Plus, it was awesome to see how excited the students were to have some new supplies! Construction paper, markers, scissors, and glitter glue were likely all novelties to these students, and we brought an entire box full of them!
When we finished with the projects, we all went outside with the students to play. I said, “Yo quiero bailar!” (I want to dance!) and some of the girls grabbed my hands and took me back to the multi-purpose room so we could all dance together. We then went back outside where all the students were running around and chasing each other with giant grasshoppers. A lot of the students just loved our cameras, so they went around taking a bunch of pictures with us. It was really sad when we had to leave because they seemed sad to see us go (although they did give us all goodbye notes that they made with their new supplies!) and one girl even asked me in Spanish if we were going to come back tomorrow! It was so sad to have to tell them no! But finally we had to leave even though we all wanted to stay longer, and we waved goodbye as we headed to ABSS for the afternoon.
When we got to the school, we had lunch, which was a baked potato and sour cream, chicken, salad, and rice, plus horchata to drink, which is like cinnamon rice milk. I’ve had it in the States before, but it was hot and this one was cold. We then spent the rest of the day in our regular classrooms. Not much happened in 3rd grade, but we did go to music, so I got to see the students being crazy with all their instruments. I was also really happy because Cristian had been gone the day before and he was back today! I was so happy!
Nobody went to the pool after class today. Instead, at 4:30, Katie, Laura, and I met up with Gustavo and Jeffry to go on a bike ride! I wanted my dance partner, Juan, to come with too, but he had homework. He did let me borrow his bike though!
The guys took us all around the agricultural part of campus, which was really cool. We got to see some banana plants and some fields that use drip irrigation, and we saw the place where the baby cows live. We took a pit stop to get some mangoes (which the boys got for us by climbing a tree), and they also used their keys to cut some sunflowers off for us! It was so sweet! We rode down to this little lake too, where Gustavo pulled out some delicious cookies that tasted like the Girl Scout shortbread cookies with the chocolate on the bottom and some juice. We also all climbed up in a nifty-looking tree for no reason. Gustavo had told Katie he had a surprise for her too. He said, “You know how most guys give girls material things, like clothes and things? Well I wanted to give you all these experiences and I wanted to show you a Zamorano sunset at this lake, but the weather is bad, so it didn’t work.” It was seriously so sweet. We realized we were about to be late for dinner though, so we all took off and rode quickly back to drop off the bikes, except Gustavo and Katie were lollygagging behind and chatting. Laura and I kept teasing Gustavo because his nickname in English is “Quickie” and he wasn’t very fast. He told us that he got his nickname because he looked like an older student who had the same nickname, and the nicknames just all get recycled I guess.
We made it back for dinner a little late, but we had some good turkey, butter and garlic potatoes, bread, salad, and tamarino, the tea-like juice we had on the first day. And the best part? Strawberry ice cream for dessert!! It was fantastic.
After dinner was shower time and then journaling time! We can’t believe that we only have a few more days in ABSS! It’s so sad!!
All the supplies we brought to rural school 1!
Working with the students
Working with the students
Taking pictures…with giant grasshoppers!
Rock on, Cristian!
Climbin some trees…so BA