Monday, September 21, 2009

The FUN continues...and Mel's back

This Saturday our church went on a trip to this cool place in the woods where there were a bunch of natural/man-made pools. I know that's an oxymoron but it's hard to describe. Since there are mountains everywhere in Honduras this place had a river/stream flowing down the mountain and each of the different levels of the mountain these cement pools were constructed, but each one flowed right into the other through mini waterfalls. And then there were even some picnic areas and grills at some of the pools so after 20 of the youth from the church got baptized in the pools we had a huge cookout and partied the rest of the day! It was lots of fun!

We had our first day back today after almost a week and a half of no classes. When I arrived at the school this morning I saw tons of students flooding out of my classroom. Haha, apparently there had been two mice in my classroom when the students showed up this morning. The girls were screaming and the boys were chasing the mice. I saw them go after one of the mice with a broom trying to kill it. I was standing outside with the girls when one of my students approached me holding the mouse by its tail. He had a huge grin on his face. Then one of the other boys wacked it out of his hand and about three boys leaped to catch it again. When the mouse excitement died down one of my students brought me a fruit called guayaba, which I think is guava in English. It's very tasty and I just chuckled because teachers in the U.S. typically receive apples from their students (at least back in the day) and I get guayabas from my students in Honduras!

So apparently Mel Zelaya (Hondura's president who was kicked out back in June) is back in Honduras. There were rumors flying this morning that somehow he got back into Tegucigalpa, so I was advised not to go into the city to avoid any potential trouble. Zelaya's supporters were rallying and no one knew what to expect. It was confirmed in the afternoon that Mel indeed had somehow gotten back into the country and was being protected in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa. Mid-afternoon all the news channels that were covering Zelaya's return were turned off by the government. Micheletti also issued a national curfew starting at 4pm until 7am tomorrow morning, but I just heard that it has been extended until tomorrow night at 6pm. This evening the mom of the family I'm living with brought me a candle and some matches to my room just in case the power got shut off. Back in June when the coup happened the electricity was shut off for awhile (I don't remember how long exactly, almost 24 hours maybe).

Needless to say, tomorrow we don't have school. That's why I'm up so late writing this blog. It's 11pm here and I'm almost always in bed by 9:30. It's crazy, but I get tired here so early and if I didn't have anything to do I could probably go to bed at 8:30 every night. The sun goes down at about 6pm every day in Honduras. I thought that would be really hard to get used to since I hate winters in PA, but so far it's been fine. The sun comes up at about 5:30am so it's much easier to get up early and since I enjoy the morning it works out just fine. I do sometimes feel totally lame though when I'm ready for bed at 8pm...zzzzz

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fall break already??? sweet....

I would love to post some pictures for you to visualize my experiences here...unfortunately I don't have the cord I need to transfer photos from my camera to the computer and my backup plan of just putting the memory card in the computer failed. I guess those 7 in 1 media inputs accept everything but Olympus cards. No worries...I'm going to figure something out, but if you have any suggestions I could use some help!

Tuesday was Independence Day in Honduras (and all of Central America). However, the day was not celebrated in Honduras with the usual patriotism and parades. It seemed like many Hondurans didn't see a reason to celebrate this year in spite of the current political turmoil.

We did get a full week off for Independence Day though. This "break" came at a great time, because it allows me to look ahead a bit in the curriculum I'm teaching and start planning. I really am thankful for this position. I'm going to be a learning just as much as my students if not more and I'm sure that my busy schedule will make Christmas time come sooner (my parents and brother are coming to visit)!!

Since we had some extra time off I went to a beautiful lake called Lago de Yojoa for the weekend with two other families from the United States who work at the school. We had a great time! I had actually stopped at the same lake on the way from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa. This time however, we stayed in a hotel for two nights and were able to do more touristy things than just eat the delicious fried fish at a lakeside restaurant. We went for a boatride, went to see a beautiful waterfall, hung out by the pool which overlooks the magnficent lake with the mountaneous backdrop while listening to salsa music and watching people dance, and we went to a national park. On our way back to Tegus, Elise, her 2 year old son and I stopped at a really cool restaurant. The food was delicious, the servers were dressed up in traditional Honduran clothes, they had a toucan, rabbits and monkeys in cages outside, they sold scrumptious strawberries and I was even able to buy a bag of coconut granola!! So far granola with yogurt and honey has been my home sweet home treat. And the road from San Pedro to Tegus just happens to have several honey stands along the way! I've really been enjoying my "taste of home" snack :-) Bad news...Honduras has a shortage of really good dark chocolate. Good thing I haven't been too homesick yet!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dia de los ninos at the President's house!

When I was little I always asked my parents why there wasn't a Children's Day if there was a Mother's Day and a Father's Day. Their response was always that EVERY day is Children's Day. Although I do agree to some extent, I'm excited to announce that Honduras has got it right and they do have a Children's Day! It's on September 10th and is normally celebrated with lots of candy, pinatas, and gifts. However, the children of AFE (the school that I teach at) were invited by the first lady to a celebration at the President's house! Four big buses picked us up at AFE Wednesday morning and we were escorted by military officers to the Casa Presidencial (Presidential House). They entertained the kids all morning with clowns, inflatables, cotton candy, snow cones, gifts, games, lunch and a tour of the President's house. The kids had a good time and we were on Honduran news all day. One newstation was recording live and unfortunately I couldn't escape fast enough from the reporter so I had to answer her questions! I was really nervous but praise Jesus because I understood what she asked and I don't think I made a huge fool out of myself on national television.

Since the official Children's Day was on Thursday we continued celebrating with the kids on Thursday and Friday. Different groups from the community came to AFE to run programs for the kids. I'm really thankful for the extra time these activities have given me to prepare for my future classes. Also, it's been a great opportunity to just hang out with my students and get to know them on a personal level. They REALLY are a SPECIAL group of students. I have 20 4th graders who range in age from 9-13 years old. I taught my first lesson on natural sciences and the kids thought it was pretty funny that the word we use in English for kidneys is a type of bean....a food they are very familiar with!

It's going to be a challenge to step in as the 4th grade teacher but it is definitely something I am very excited about and I'm confident that God knew what he was doing when he gave me this opportunity. I'm looking forward to all I will learn through my first official teaching position and I couldn't ask for a better group of students!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

4th grade teacher??? haha :-)

Starting tomorrow, I am AFE's new 4th grade teacher! Yikes :-) I got here on Monday and I couldn't feel better about being here. I was given a tour of the school and then I helped give some English classes (apparently I'm a much better Spanish teacher than English teacher). Everyone in the school, church and community have been so warm and welcoming and I'm really thankful for the hospitality everyone has shown me!

Unfortunately, I haven't had internet for the past week, but hopefully that will change within the next week or so!

So God has given me the very unexpected opportunity to be the fourth grade teacher at AFE. The current teacher is leaving to go to med school and I was offered the position. I will be teaching 20 students Math, Spanish, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. This will certainly be a challenge since I learned all of those subjects in English and since I never really learned about Central American history. I'm really excited for this opportunity (and for that I thank God) and I know I'll be learning so much through this experience that I wouldn't have learned as a teacher's aide.

I've got to finish preparing for tomorrow (ahhhh!) but I really really appreciate your prayers for my students and for me. We're going to need them :-)