Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chocolate Mocha

My new favorite morning drink! Yes, it's in a Christmas mug! The students here give teachers mugs for Christmas so we have several! :)

Directions: Fill your mug 2/3 full of milk and microwave for 2 minutes or until simmering. Stir in 1 packet of hot chocolate. Top off with coffee or instant coffee mixed in hot water. Load up with marshmallows. ENJOY!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mom's visit!

It was such a blessing to have mom here last week to visit! She walked through my days with me, going to class, eating Honduran food at the cafeteria for lunch, and then watching at basketball practice. We ate dinner with the West Michigan teachers, my apartment, and my care group three different nights. On Friday night we went to one of the best restaurants in Tegucigalpa called La Cumbre. It is on the side of a mountain overlooking Tegucigalpa, and we went on a gorgeous night! The view was fantastic, the food delicious, and the company amazing. :)

Saturday was full of experiencing Honduran life. We got up early and left for the market at 6:30. I love the market and was so glad that mom was able to experience it! We shopped around, got some fresh fruits and veggies, and then tried some pupusas and baleadas, traditional Honduran food made with tortillas, beans and cheese. In the afternoon we went across town to Los Pinos where I've taught the last couple of Saturdays. We did some more teaching English through games and music. We had more people there than last week, and also saw some improvement. It was so encouraging to see what they'd learned being put into practice.

Sunday we went to church and then got dropped off at Picacho on the way up. There's a huge statue of Christ that looks over the city there. Unfortunately we got rained on, so we ate our lunch under a Mayan Ruin replica and waited it out a bit. It was a slower day. We made pumpkin spice Lattes and did a LOT of wedding planning! It was so great to have someone to talk wedding with all week! We got so much done and talked about! If only I was getting married in 10 days rather than 10 months!

Monday was the real adventure. I had the day off, so mom and I went with four other teachers to La Tigra, a national forest. We hiked through the jungle to a beautiful waterfall! I didn't really know what to expect and therefore couldn't really prepare mom for what we were getting ourselves into... the jungle. I felt like I was in the Jungle Book the whole time! The first part of the hike was the easiest along a well kept path and then we headed deeper into the brush on a much narrower path. It was steep and muddy. (Our shoes were covered by the end.) But the 2 hours to the waterfall was well worth it! The water was falling over the edge of a cliff way above and cascading down the rock face. Susan and I took off our shoes and stuck our feet in the freezing water! It felt so good and it was so crystal clear! We ate some lunch and then headed 2 hours back to the car. On the way back to Pinares, we stopped at a gorgeous vineyard to get some jam and mora berries (giant blackberries). At night, we had some pizza with my care group and just relaxed.

Overall, what a great week! It was so amazing to have a visitor! There's some things that you just can't explain or describe about life in Honduras.

I love you mom! So glad you could come!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Rock in Los Pinos

Today is hard to describe. For the second time I went to a church called The Rock, where a small school was recently started. There's 24 kids that meets in a one room cement building. They are grades K-6 and there's 3 teachers. The three teachers are recent high school grads, who attend the church.

Two weeks ago, another teacher and I met these three teachers and gave them a lesson on how to teach. We didn't quite know what to expect and prayed that the Lord would give us the words to use. We covered lesson planning, creating objectives, assessment, Bloom's Taxonomy, multiple intelligences... it brought me back to my Education classes at Calvin! We did a lot of thinking on our feet for 2 hours as we tried to guide them in their first teaching job. They were friendly and excited to learn.

Today I went back with two other teachers to teach English to the adults and the kids. There were about 15 people there. It was fantastic! Most of them didn't know any English so we started with the basics: hello, how are you, I am well, what's your name, my name is ___, etc. After a bit, we split off. Jon taught the teachers, Elizabeth taught the teenagers and adults, and I taught the younger kids. We sang songs and played games in the small area outside the church. It was rocky and uneven, with trash in the corner of the walled yard, but we had a blast! Over and over we sang "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes," walked hopped, ran, and played Simon Says. And best of all, I got more hugs than I could count. :)

What has impacted me significantly about Honduran life is the stark contrast between lifestyles of people. Here I was on the other side of Tegucigalpa and working with people on the opposite end of the socioeconomic ladder. Most people in this area are under educated, unemployed, underfed and unsaved. I fear that up here on the mountain, where the students come from the upper middle class, we risk becoming disillusioned. And I'm not just referring to Honduras by any means. In America it's the same, when we're born into middle class and live in middle class, associate with middle class, are educated in middle class... we fail to see below. We keep looking up, trying to get higher up the ladder. In Honduras, the contrast is drastic. The socioeconomic jump from lower to upper class is wide, with a gap in between where the middle class is relatively non-existant. I come from teaching in a school that is well equipped, where the students have maids, and seventh graders have blackberries... and I go to a place where kids are covered in dirt from head to toe for lack of available water, their parents dig through dumpsters to survive, and their favorite toy is a worn out volleyball with the cover stripped off that they use as a soccer ball.

What's impacted me just as much, is the similarities. Kids are kids. They love to get dirty, play hard, and laugh. Laughter comes so freely to a child. Even if you've just reprimanded them for misbehaving, once they get back into the game, they've forgotten about how sad they were two minutes before. Today, the kids laughed as they listened to our English and tried to repeat it, they laughed as I hopped around in circles with them, they laughed when they toppled over from their statue poses, and they laughed as they ate chocolate chip cookies before we left.

I praise God for the opportunity I have to touch the lives of these people. I praise God for the education I've received, that I may use it to glorify Him. And I praise God for these precious children who have already touched my heart with their innocence and their love.

Good night, God Bless.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weather Report:

Unfortunately, people think that because Honduras is tropical, it's always sunny.

It's not.

Today started out ok. As I made my way back to my apartment after aerobics this morning, the sun was shining as it came up behind the school through the pine trees. But once it was time for my classes to start, we were walking through a cloud to the court with occasional sprinkles. Now, it's about 55 degrees, our mountain is enveloped in a cloud, and it's misting. I thought it was going to be nicer today... so I wore shorts. Bad choice. :) Most days it's nice teaching outside, but when it's like this... I have to say though, it is interesting how different people perceive cold. Here, most of the Hondurans are in stocking caps and scarves with their big winter jackets on! If only they could visit Michigan...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Creation is God's handiwork...

I had some time this afternoon to take pictures of the flowers around school! The sunset was also beautiful today!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week in Review:

First of all, it's crazy that I've been here for two months! It's amazing how fast and how slow time can go, all at the same time.

Second, I feel like I'm finally able to get my way around the city. Most of the week I stay on the mountain; there's no need to go into the city, and I'm usually pretty tired after teaching all day and then basketball practice. Here's what a typical week looks like:

Monday: 5:15-6am: I lead aerobics class, 7-3: school, 6:30pm: Bible Study
Tuesday: 7-3: school, 3-5: BB practice, 7-9:pick up soccer for teachers
Wednesday: 7-3: school; 3-4:30: teacher meetings; 5:15-6pm: aerobics
Thursday: 7-3: school, 3-5: BB practice
Friday: 5:15-6am: aerobics class, 7-3: school; 3-5: BB practice; 8-9:30: Volleyball practice in the city
Saturday: I spend Friday night in the city and take the bus up in the morning around 8:30. 9-11:30am: BB practice.
Sunday: church at either Impacto or Santidad. They both start around 11, so I sleep in a bit and the past 3 Sundays I've made baked oatmeal for breakfast! :) Love it! Thanks Cami for the amazing recipe! In the evenings I have "family dinner" at another apartment.

This past weekend I spent Saturday afternoon at a birthday party for a student! I went with another teacher. It was fun to see the kids outside of school- playing soccer, eating pizza, etc. After that, my VB team had a game at 4pm. We won! It's been so fun playing with these ladies. One of them took me all the way back to Pinares after the game. The best part is getting to know Hondurans.

Today I relaxed in the sun, talked to family, and made an apple taffy pizza for dessert at family dinner! Good stuff!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Family Sports Day

This past Saturday we had a family sports day to raise money for the Athletic Department. Courts were open to play volleyball, basketball and futbol. There was a bake sale and kids were able to play carnival games. It was an amazing event and tons of people came! Each basketball team played against their parents as well! My girls lost, but they had a ton of fun! The event started at 10 and went until 3. I was in charge of running the volleyball court... keeping score and encouraging people to make teams. I'd have a relaxed game of elementary school students play and then a group of intense parents and high schoolers.

The best part of the day was seeing my students outside of class. They would come up to me and give me a hug, "Mees DeeJung!" :) It was also great to meet some more of the parents. In Tegucigalpa, there aren't city parks where the students can go to and play, it's too dangerous. They don't have big backyards or sidewalks to ride bikes on... they are so limited for places to go out and play. Saturday was a day where they could come to Pinares, a safe place, and play all day. The Lord blessed us with a day of beautiful sunshine after an entire week of rain!