Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t bear the thought of leaving Honduras and this school in just over a month. In 2015 I took one year of unpaid leave from my teaching job in Australia with the intention to teach for 9 months and travel for a further 3. That was almost two years ago. During my first year teaching here I decided that there was more here for me so I asked for another year of leave, which luckily I got! And with only 3.5 weeks left of school, I am trying to come to terms with leaving.
My decision to volunteer came about due to a few factors: 1. I have always wanted to volunteer in a country less fortunate than my own, 2. I was exhausted from the demands of the education system in Australia, 3. I had nothing but my puppy (Chester) to tie me down at home (don’t worry he is safe and sound living with my mum and I skype him regularly!). It has honestly been the best decision of my life. The students and their families at CBS will teach you more than you can ever dream of knowing. One of my best little buddies from 1st grade, whom I taught last year when he was in prepa, has taught me that no matter what you have you can be the happiest kid ever. We play football ‘Honduras v Australia’ on his cement front porch every time I visit. His goal is between a plant and the stairs and my goal is between two marks on the wall. We play with a plastic ball that has many dints in it, but this boy is so happy. There is no need for a phone, a computer or an iPad, just a ball and someone to play with. Oh and by the way last time Australia lost 32 to Honduras’ 100.
My older students are much like any teenager you will meet. Yes we occasionally (very rarely now) butt heads due to typical teenage attitudes, but the respect that the students have for me and I for them is very clear. Today in 10th grade I was talking to a couple of the students about exams coming up and that lead us into a discussion about when I was leaving. One student said ‘Miss, I think I am going to cry when you leave’, my response was ‘I know I am going to’. The students appreciate their education so much and grow to love each and every volunteer teacher that they have. I was out to dinner last night with a few of the other volunteers and one of my 11th grade students was walking nearby and came over to say hi. He gave me a big hug and we had a chat about the day. If students, their families or people that know you see you while you are out and about they will yell out the side of a moto taxi, run across the supermarket to hug you or come over for a chat. I have been invited to the mountains, the beach, the movies, to eat at people’s houses and on other excursions with my students and their families.
I’m not going to lie there are a few things that I won’t miss! The cold showers in winter, in summer they are a blessing, but stepping into the shower when it is freezing, I will not miss that- hello hot water in Australia! I also will not miss being dirty ALL the time. My students told me to wear socks and Crocs the other day because ‘Miss your feet are sooooo dirty’. That is a fashion crime in Australia but here it is acceptable. After that conversation I even looked into buying a pair of Crocs, but no I couldn’t do it.
I have learnt and grown so much in my time here at CBS. The students will teach you so, so much. If you are reading this because you want to volunteer for us, do it, the experiences that you will have are unbelievable! I know that I am a better person because of what I have experienced here.
Miss Sarah, 10th and 11th Grade teacher