Educated in Honduras
For an update on today…
Today was our last day in Honduras, and it was a great ending to a trip such as this. Today we went to the botanical gardens and to the beach with some of the OYE scholars. We got some awesome nature pics, and some of us should have put more sunblock on this week.. We ended the day with a dinner amongst friends.
It’s going to be an adjustment to not wake up to car horns, truck exhausts, and reggaeton. But as I reflect on the ASB Honduras trip, I know it’s time to return home. We must now share what impact we had on Honduras, what impact we had on our group, and the impact made and what will be made at home.
The impact we made on Honduras really starts with the El Progreso community and youth. Yes, we painted an amazing (and large) mural on the outside of a local school, but it’s so much more than appearance. This school is expressing compassion for all youth and their need for a quality education. It’s giving the students something to look forward to as they walk in their schools front gate. It shows the students that their voice matters, and gives them the ability to use their voice to create change in their community and their country.
The mural and the work we did with OYE allowed our ASB group to bond as well. We were shown a reality different from our own, and discussed the need for education of youth and how that need impacts a society. The presentations taught each of us something powerful that we will take back home with us, and we were asked to reflect on issues or questions we never really thought about prior to this trip. The smell of paint thinner will forever take us back to that school in Honduras, and the next time we pick up a paintbrush, we will be taken back to our experience here.
Our letters from home and the comments left on the blog has shown me the impact we have back in the US. This is just the beginning of how our experience will be shared back home. Their are many parallels that can be drawn of the issues facing Hondurans, to the issues that Americans are experiencing today. I am excited to share our experience with the Oshkosh community and UWO through our re orientation project.
This was an amazing trip, and I could not have predicted the lasting friendships that were made with the Honduran OYE scholars, or with my fellow ASB participants. We learned some pretty heavy life lessons, and even some Spanish. Overall, I learned the power of people. It starts with one voice- one story to create a movement.
Hasta luego, Honduras.
…But We’re Not Done, Honduras
Today we had a great free day at the Jardin Botanico Lancetilla and the beautiful beaches of Tela.
It was another great day, but I want to focus on this week instead. As I was gearing up to go on this trip, I was a little nervous. I have been abroad before and I think that it is normal to feel that. Less than 24 hours after we landed in Honduras, that feeling went away and was replaced by the excitement I had been feeling since I was accepted to be a part of this team.
I don’t want to repeat what has been better-said by my other teammates, except to say that this week has been amazing. Our work and our interactions have been spectacular. This team came together to paint a mural, with the help and leadership of the OYE staff and scholars. I can’t say for sure about others on the trip, but my major requires NO art component. Yet we still got it done. And it looked great. I’m so proud of it and the contribution we made for it. I’m just as proud of our work this week, as I am to be graduating in a short seven weeks from the wonderful university that gave me the opportunity to be a part of this.
Did we solve every single problem that is facing Honduras? Of course not. But through our interactions, our work, and, most importantly, our experiences, we leave Honduras tomorrow morning knowing that it’s better than when we first arrived. Through our tireless effort and our willingness to spend our break doing something worthwhile, we get to carry and share our experience with others, that we may inspire others to do the same.
From our interactions with the fantastic kids and teachers at the school, who were so eager to meet and talk with us, to our meaningful relationships with the great OYE scholars and staff, to the awesome food and music, and the heat, OH THE HEAT…these are the memories we keep. To add to that, today we got to share our host country’s drama of World Cup qualifying with their fierce Mexican rivals. What are the chances of us being here when something so awesome is talking place? To see the Hondurans cheer when they tied the game up and played to the draw was sublime. We may not have been able to be at the game, but we got to be apart of it all, even if it was just for a day. Even if the lingering thought of our departure started to become ever present.
But we’re not done, Honduras. We never can be. We’ve all been changed by your wonderful country and the people we met along the way. This has been a life-changing experience.
In my wildest dreams I can see Honduras playing the US in a knock-out round of next summer’s World Cup and while I wait to see that, I can continue seeking out new service opportunities and take the small steps forward that make this world better.
Best wishes to everyone who followed our blog this week. We hope that you have been able to appreciate everything we did. We look forward to seeing all of you upon our return.
Lessons from Honduras
Yaya! The mural is finally completed! Everyone has worked hard and has got the sunburn to prove it. As the trip is coming to a close I think back to when I first arrived and had no idea what to expect. I did not know whether Hondurans would accept all of us being American. But what I have come to realize is they are very open to diversity and accepting differences. They have invited us into their home and made us traditional Honduras meals. They taught us how to dance and helped us learn a few Spanish phrases. Children from the school have taught us games and try to communicate with us, even though it may be difficult sometimes. With all this being said, I would like to adapt to this way of thinking and accept everyone no matter what their differences are.
Most of the group have seemed to have adapted to the “Honduran time”. This meaning we are relaxed and take one day at a time. It’s nice to think this way not only because its completely opposite of the way Americans thing, but because sometime we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of school and work and we forget to stop and appreciate all that life has given us.
This trip has been more than helping out a school with a mural. It has been life changing and opened our eyes to how someone’s time and effort can improve not only the lives of others but also to make a difference in our lives. I plan on taking what I learned here and applying it to my life back in Wisconsin.
Muchisimas Gracias y Buenas Suerte pt. 1
FELIZ CUMPLEANOS MARISA DUSENBERRY!
Hello everyone back home! This is Angie. As Ashley said before, today was our last day working on the mural. It looks fantastic and I couldn’t be more proud of our ASB/OYE team! Saying our goodbyes at the school was definitely an emotional experience for all of us. It was so weird how close I was able to get to some of the kids regardless of the language barrier. I taught them a couple new games by the way (duck duck goose and down by the banks)! They caught on pretty quickly despite my terrible Spanish, and they even managed to teach me a couple new games!
The adults I have met through the school have had just as much an impact on me as the kids. The schools English teacher is definitely someone I will never forget. He inspires the children to be their best and they show him great respect, yet you see the love he has for each of his students. Luckily, I got the chance to say goodbye before we left. He thanked me and stressed how important the work here my group and I were doing. I ended by shaking his hand and he told me “I know I’ll see you again. You’ll be back.” The funny thing is, I think he might be right. Needless to say, I’m sad to see this trip come to an end. It’s changed and inspired me in more ways then I expected.
Tonight we are headed to one of my FRIENDS houses, Oscar. I’m excepting a lot of fun, dancing, music, dancing, food, and uhhh…dancing. Until next time friends…buenos noches!
Side note: Today I met a man named Francesco! He owns a store here in town and he used to live in Kenosha, WI!! What are the chances?!
WE ALSO GOT SMOOTHIES AGAIN!!!!!
The mural is finished! After four days of painting, tracing, and more painting with the OYE scholars, the mural is complete. We finished as the second school session started, so before we left they shared their gratitude and said their thank yous in song. Some of us even teared up a little.. It was bittersweet leaving the school, but I am so excited that we leave with such a positive impact on the walls of this Honduran school.
Soccer day pt. 2
Hello. Im Allie, one of the sophomores of the group and I’m going to tell you about my experiences today! So first of all our day started out with two breakfasts. The owners of the hotel offered to cook us breakfast which we had thought was going to be tomorrow but was prepared today. We started out our day as usual with cereal and reflection by kevin and one of the ladys set up a table with food for who we thought were going to be business men that are also staying here. The food stayed out awhile with no one coming to get it and everyone was asking me to go ask the front desk if the food was for us. Wellll before I could do that the front desk attendant came and told us the breakfast was for us. So after our cereal and bananas we had some extra energy, that we would need today, by having some eggs, toast, ham, and juice. It was a great start to our long day.
So after such a delicious morning we went to the school to continue our mural. As we walk up to it ever morning it looks more and more amazing. The work the Gerald, the head artist of OYE, has done is amazing and the work each person of this trip has put into it is just as amazing. The mural is nearly done and a cool thing about today was I noticed we keep becoming more and more integrated with the scholars and continue to share our cultures and create lasting relationships with all of them. We’ve even gotten as far as Facebook friends. Crazy! So we got almost All of the mural done today and are finishing up tomorrow! We even have the university of Oshkosh logo started which is awesome! Another amazing thing at the school is not only are we making lasting relationships with the scholars, but the students that go to this school as well. Like yesterday we were walking back to the hotel and I heard someone yell “hola Allie” and it was a little girl from the school that had recognized me. I’ve also made a great connection with my Honduran best friend. Her name is Doris and she is a special Ed teacher that works with deaf students that live in el Progresso. She reminds me of my mom cleaning off my face and teaching me little things. She’s an all around amazing woman. So after painting we ate lunch and then went back to do more painting. From the school we left to go to the infamous soccer game.
I know Dan probably talked a lot about the soccer game but let me just say, I know why I played basketball and ran cross country in high school. Oscar who is one of my favorite OYE scholars picked our team which consisted of Angie, Carly, me, him, the guys named Mario. Needless to say we lost bad. But the experience was more important than the score.
Lastly, we came back and jumped into the pool with our clothes on, and then got ready for dinner. Sam grilled us chicken and tortillas, beans, Honduran cheese, and pico de gallo. Following dinner we had a guest speak about the corporate social responsibility of the businesses in Honduras. This was really interesting for me because the man speaking, Walter, was living my life, but in Honduras. He majored in marketing and works for an outsourcing company generating call leads. I am currently going for a major in marketing and just received an internship that generates call leads for j.j. Keller. But anyways Walter’s company KM2 is an outsourcing company that is extremely involved with OYE. They employ around 600 employees ages 18-24 and they have a program in which the employee can donate 1% of their income to OYE. Over 50% of their employees do so. They also hold resume builders and mock interviews to give OYE students a sense of business etiquette. The interesting thing is that KM2 is the exception. There are very few to almost no companies that integrate with non profits and the community in honduras. Matt reminded me that Morgan made a great point today saying “you don’t have to have a a degree in social responsibilities to have an impact on people” this is a quote that really applies to me and the future that I see for myself. Working for a company that gives back can really keep you grounded in a world such as business which is really money centered. This has been such an amazing experience so far and I have connected with people on more levels than I knew possible. Coming here has opened me to things that are unexplainable and experiences that are unforgettable. Thanks everyone for reading this novel. Until next time, Adios!
Soccer day pt. 1
Dan here. I cannot even explain how awesome this alternative spring break trip is. The students in the elementary school we are at are always excited when we arrive and will start screaming. The students remember our names and always want us to do something with them. From personal experience, two students always come up to me when we enter and ask me to play soccer with them, while another two students (same two everyday) argue over who is going to use my camera and take photos (it’s a joy trying to track them down every morning to get my camera back). Update on the mural: we got a lot of work done and the final project will be posted tomorrow.
However my favorite part of today had to be the soccer games we got to play with the scholars. All of the scholars were extremely intense and competitive, but everyone had fun and really enjoyed themselves. None of us are use to playing in the heat down here, we were sweating as soon as we stepped onto the field. We all joked about how fun the ride back home would be with all of us in the van.
I cannot wait to see what we will experience the rest of the week. One more work day and then our day off on Friday!
We’re getting to the end of the mural! We went over some of the outlines and started on painting the people and logos. For lunch, Matt and I bought an avocado and a zapote for lunch, while the rest of the group had sandwiches. We also got to purchase some OYE tees and look at the art that the art scholars made. We’re going back to the school soon to finish painting and hen we are playing a soccer game with he scholars! Dinner is at our hotel, and a speaker on corporate responsibility will be joining us! I’m looking forward to that dinner conversation 🙂
Mi Voz Es Poder Part 2
Hola fellow blog followers, it’s Allysa here! I can’t believe we just finished up day four of our incredible trip in El Progreso! I have learned so much so far from this experience, and it is definitely making me think twice of how privileged I have been in the United States. The children of the public school of whom we are painting the mural for are the ones that have impacted me the most. The first day that we toured the school was a major eye opener. Although the school may not be in the best shape, the teachers really focus on providing the children with a high quality education. I was not expecting the students to know some English! It’s definitely a lot of fun learning more Spanish from students as well as helping them learn more English. The group and I were also very surprised that the next day the students still remembered our names!
So many times throughout my life and being at UW Oshkosh I find myself guilty of complaining about homework or wishing summer would come by faster. Seeing these students and listening to the education panel really brought to my awareness of how selfish that sounds. Primary education is hard to come by here in Honduras, and it is also an extreme rarity that students will ever get to the university level of education. Throughout our time here, it is easy to see how much appreciation youth put into their school. They work hard in the classroom, as well as cleaning up the school on their own since there isn’t a custodial staff.
While taking a break from painting the empowering mural for the children, Christina and I had a chat about the behind the scenes issues regarding youth in Honduras. Christina is an OYE intern here from a Virginia university for Social Work. I connect with her very well in having the same major and discussing social injustices in this country. She mentioned how young children have to work to provide financial support for their families instead of going to school. Some children may be given a basket of food and would not be able to come home to sleep until they sold everything. The average family household makes about $3,000 in U.S. dollars per year. In many cases, children need to stop going to school in order to help support their family.
Painting the mural I believe will help inspire youth to stay dedicated to receiving an education and making a difference in their own country. Even people who do not go to that school and pass by it on the street on a daily basis may be inspired by the mural. I like to think we are being true role models for the children and helping them develop and reach their own goals throughout their life! One of OYE’s quotes is “Mi Voz Es Poder” which means “My Voice Is Power”. We all need to continually keep this in our minds and hearts by realizing even one person can make a difference.
Mi Voz Es Poder
Hola from Honduras. This is Chelsea, the advisor for ASB Honduras. I have the privilege of working with the amazing student leaders on this trip and introducing everyone to two amazing OYE members. Please meet Sam and Morgan, who have worked with OYE since 2009 and currently serve in the role of Director (Sam) and Volunteer Coordinator (Morgan). We couldn’t ask for better hosts. Through their preparations for our group they have arranged a number of panels on Honduran reality, today’s topic of Education, and tomorrow’s topic of Corporate Social Responsibility. The ability to connect with the country, learn from educators from El Progresso, and begin to understand the corruption/ issues that are prevalent in Honduras has given the work OYE and our group is doing another level of meaning. The great thing about OYE is all the projects are planned and implemented by Honduran youth coordinators (art, sports, magazine, radio, etc.) through Sam and Morgan helping as translators we have been able to dance, paint, and interact with many of these coordinators.
Panel on Education-
Today’s panel featured two area teachers and a member of a youth network dedicated to improving the education system in Honduras. Through the presentation we learned about UNESCO’s tenants of education and the United Nations declaration of access to quality education being a universal basic human right. Unfortunately, this is not the situation in Honduras. Problems with lack of resources, cost of education, lack of teaching positions for trained educators, over crowded class sizes (the average Honduran class size is 50-70 students), and corruption in the education system prevent many students from completing their primary education. An example given by one of the educators was “if 1,000 students started elementary school, 900 would go on to high school, only 400 will graduate and of that 400 maybe 10 will go on to university and graduate.” Change is needed in all areas of education. They need better and more resources, a government that is able to provide for its people, and a system of education that is truly equal access. In Honduras if you have any extra money you send your children to private school because this is the only way to ensure that your child will receive a quality education. Often times the public school teachers are not paid which results in frequent teacher strikes and school being closed. Overall, through the presentations and question and answer sessions I think that we all have a better understanding of the educational reality here in Honduras and how privileged we have been with our K-12 and higher education system. I know I personally have such a great appreciation for the work of OYE and the interest in the youth to better the system. I believe that education can solve many of societies problems and appreciated hearing another cultures views on the importance of education.