Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Call Me....Profe Maggie?

I guess you could say I’m following in my parent’s footsteps as I signed a contract back in August to teach English to the fourth graders once a week. Since I signed this contract, I have taught class once. Yep, that’s how many times they have had actual class on a Friday since the beginning of September.  Whether it’s for teacher meetings, holidays, or other random reasons, school here is always canceled. I truly love teaching the kids though (it’s yet another test of my patience) and their teacher Profe Rene also does a lot of work with Shoulder to Shoulder and he has been a great role model for me here. He lives right by the clinic and has named this part of town “Barrio Cincinnati” since there are so many gringos (and a lot from Ohio) coming all the time. 
A group of sixth graders has also asked me to teach them English a couple of times a week which I love. It’s so nice to have a small group and get to know the students one on one. They usually come find me at the clinic on the afternoons when we don’t have any library activities wanting to play soccer; I can never say no!
My little sixth grade English group making cake at the clinic
Seeing as the weekends are pretty slow here, we usually come up with random things to do. Last weekend we had a Pirate Party. For this party, we made eye patches and gave pirate names to everyone, played games with pirate themes, and sent  Amy (another volunteer here) on a treasure hunt for her cake. There is a website called PirateCon (meaning Pirate Convention) and if you register your fiesta, then it shows on the website. Seeing that Honduras has never had an official Pirate Con, we decided to be the first! 
Shiver me timbers...the lassies and our attempt at being pirates

Both Amys and I getting ready to walk the plank

As a means to get out into the community, I have been going to a Bible study through the Catholic Church on Tuesday nights with my roommate Amy. Surprisingly this community has a higher percentage of Evangelicals than Catholics, which is very atypical of Latin America. The  Catholic Church can’t afford a priest, so they only have real mass about once a month but  the people here have taken initiative and run prayer groups by neighborhoods and do a Celebration of the Word on Sundays in place of mass. It has been a good reminder about the bigger picture for me and the last few themes of the group meetings have been about jealousy and communication in marriage, a theme I can’t really contribute to! However, it has been interesting seeing the problems, concerns and beliefs that affect the people in Santa Lucia. Last night, I was called on when I wasn’t paying attention so I’m sure I spit out something incoherent in Spanish….whoops. We always get food though, so I’ve learned to eat a smaller dinner on Tuesday nights as it rude here to deny food especially in a home. Last night we had tamales and coffee…yum!
One thing that constantly frustrates me here is the lack of concern about the environment. People here throw their trash on the ground or out the window all the time. There is trash everywhere. I know it is lack of knowledge about the environment and also lack of infrastructure for a proper trash disposal system but this is  one thing I cannot get used to. We also don’t recycle here and a little piece of me dies inside every time I see a plastic bottle in the trash or on the road. People here drink a lot of pop too so it is definitely a huge problem! The other clinic has started recycling and composting though so I am hoping that we can start this in Santa Lucia too. One of the ways people get rid of their trash is by burning it. The rate of respiratory disease here is very high and I’m sure part of it is due to this and also to the wood stoves that many women use in their homes. Nonetheless, it is just one more thing I can be thankful for. In the United States, we never realize how lucky we are to have proper infrastructure like a good trash disposal system, an education system where teachers actually get paid consistently for their job, and a water treatment system where we never have to worry about the sanitation of our drinking water. This has definitely put a lot in perspective for me! Thinking of everyone at home and in their respective countries! Paz!

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