Field Trip to the Museo de Naturaleza

Thrice thwarted by the vagaries of weather or what others may call the ´acts of God´, when the note was dispersed around my class that this Friday that on the fourth attempt, we should try to go to the Museo de La Naturaleza, the message was met with mild indifference by many. Initially excited for the field trip, some had become weary of the promises being made to them, and suspected that it probably wouldn´t occur this time either. How quickly children learn the almost perfidious nature of adults.

Finally however the day arrived. Friday 5th December 2014 saw no overnight nefarious divine activity, no storms of proportions King James and our way was clear. Off we went, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade all aboard a big yellow fun bus towards the bright lights of San Pedro Sula. I sat towards the back with my grade and their initial excitement of being on the road and beyond the fruited plain of CBS soon reduced to 22 pairs of eyes viciously looking at each other´s tablets, telephones and the games therein.

Away we go!

Away we go!

Eventually we arrived at a ramshackle building tucked secretly away under the decaying bleachers of the Francisco Morazán football stadium.

At this point your writer must confess that I found the museum a travesty of a conception. Room after room filled with boards of texts and pictures that we were quickly hurried through so that anyone with the inclination to sit down and absorb some of the information were never really given the opportunity to do so. No touching signs were abound in almost any room that had anything of slightest reachable interest.

The sky at night...

The sky at night…

However the children did enjoy themselves. Particular merriment was had in the planetarium room, where much mirth was initially induced by the effects of neon purple lights on white gym t-shirts and shoes laces. Then we lay down and as the lights descended and the “ahhhhhs” ascended we were treated not to the constellations but a random assortment of fluorescent stars and shapes stuck haphazardly across the ceiling….

More cheerfulness was to be had in what I can only assume to have been the human reproduction room. This room contained of all things, a false homunculus, a prosthetic reproduction of a six month old foetus floating in a jar only half covered in the solution intended to preserve it. Still, the children believed in its legitimacy and were significantly grossed out so I guess it served its purpose.

Little man in a little jar

Little man in a little jar

After this we piled through more rooms of similar mundanity, had a picnic and piled back aboard the big yellow fun bus and I think we all, to a man, thoroughly enjoyed our time away from normal classes and some of them may have learned a thing or two.

Taxidermy at its best!

Taxidermy at its best

Those Moments

Every night is a summer night.

That does not necessarily mean that every night feels like a summer night. During the week, I am mostly consumed by school life. Lesson planning, dealing with different situations¬, frustrating as well as heart melting ones, just giving all my energy to my kids and getting a good portion of energy thrown at me by them.

We are kept busy during the week. But then are those moments, often in the evening on the weekends, where I suddenly realize where I am again and that I am damn happy to be here. Those moments include feeling the warm summer breeze, breathing in the lively life of the community. Those include walking on an uneven path, surrounded by dogs and chicken chasing each other. Those include feeling the warmth and hospitality of the family while tutoring. Those include sitting on the porch watching local kids run around, and loud reggaeton being played in good company. Or those include enjoying the days off with the other volunteers or newly met people. In those moments, I am purely happy to be here. In this warm community, in a place called Cofradía. A place that, I imagine, no tourist has ever set foot in. I experience real Honduran life, with its drawbacks and without any glitter or touristy¬-polished setup. I am glad I ended up here because it is real.

I also have lots of time to think about myself. Not in a pressure-¬like way. In a completely enjoyable way. This is possible because I am taking a break from my life at home. As cheesy as it sounds, I feel more individually free here. For the first time in my life I don’t live in a big city and I didn’t think I would enjoy it that much. Life is slower, less stressful. I do have way more responsibility than I had at home¬- taking care of 22 kids isn’t exactly easy. But being responsible for little human beings is just more fun and makes more sense than the oppressing responsibility for myself I felt at home. The stress of too many options of what to do on a Friday night or trying to get a handle on all the events you committed going to is non-existent here.

-Saskia, 6th grade teacher