Short-term Volunteering in Cofradia – I Have to Leave in a Week!

Because I am only a short-term volunteer – just three weeks – this blog entry will be short and sweet.

 I admit I may still be in the “honeymoon period” but I am honestly loving it here.  I love the town, the school and the students, and the other volunteers.  I feel like it took me about two days to feel right at home here.

 One of my favorite things here has been exploring Cofradia.  The thing about Cofradia is that there are no street names, at least as far as I can tell.  You have to figure out directions by really observing your surroundings.  You have to remember the landmarks:  the bright green pulperia… the bright yellow house with the Minnie Mouse painted on it… the purple house with the hammocks… the orange house with the little old lady who is always sitting on her rocking chair… the corner with all the cows and chickens… the guys selling roasted corn in front of the church…the baleada place…  And one of my favorites, the “thrift store”.  Not what you might picture; it is a house with well-organized piles of clothes set out on the sidewalk in front.  But you can get some great deals there.

 The school and the students are hard for me to describe without sounding cliché.  Two weeks is not nearly enough time to really truly know my students, but I’m already feeling like they are indeed, “my” students. Teaching here is not easy.  I have taught for many years in the USA, and my experiences here have really made me appreciate the resources I have there.  But it’s a challenge I welcome.  Right now, there is no teacher for the 8th and 9th grades so those are the grades I am covering.  My experience has mostly been with elementary, so 8th and 9th are not the grade levels I am most comfortable with. Or at least I thought I wasn’t.  But now I can’t imagine not teaching those kids.  Each and every one of them.  The cliché word I am trying to avoid is “rewarding”, but I think in the end I just can’t avoid it.

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8th grade students

 And finally, I want to say some things about the other volunteers. They are spending months and even years here.  I have huge respect for them. They work so hard and obviously care immensely for their students.  But they all still took the time to answer my many questions about, well, about everything.  And despite my being old enough to be a mother to any one of them (and if I’m quite honest with myself, a grandmother to a couple of them) they still made me feel very welcome.  We have fun too.  There is an interesting mix of backgrounds.  Right now, the house has volunteers from the USA, Canada, England/Eastern Europe (that’s the same person), Scotland and Australia.  And Luna the dog, who is a native Honduran.    There are definitely some unique personalities here (which I mean in a good way), there have been some lively discussions, and interesting senses of humor.  Or, in the interest of international goodwill, senses of humour. Despite what spellcheck is trying to tell me.

 As I read back on this, my first ever blog, I realize it is not so short after all.  There is certainly a part of me that is taking that to mean that it wouldn’t be so bad if my stay here also wasn’t quite so short. Well, we shall see what the future brings!

Mrs Linda, Short term volunteer teacher for 8th and 9th grades

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