So the year is all but done. This is the fourth time I’ve left this place and it never seems to get any easier. The kids were all asking if I was going to cry again, such is my reputation at this time of year.
As something special comes to an end it’s natural to look back and reminisce. I’ve been doing a lot of this recently and so thought that for my last blog I’d run through some of my Top Cofradia Moments. Cutting the list down is difficult and I’m positive that I’ll remember something else after this is posted that I should have included.
So without further ado, here´s five of my favourite Cofradia memories:
Mother´s Day Concert
Mother’s Day has never been too big in my family (sorry mum) so it surprised me when I arrived here how seriously it’s taken. Every year the school puts on a Mother’s Day concert and all the mothers of the students get all dolled up and come along. It’s very much high on the list of the social calendar. In previous years my students have sang songs from The Beatles to Bruno Mars but this year 10th grade was very ambitious and sang Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
I knew from the first practice that it was going to be either a disaster or a triumph and luckily it was definitely the latter. They all got in to it and I felt like a proud parent watching them belt it out. It also helped improve their vocabulary, though not sure how often they’ll need to use “scaramouche” or “bismillah” in their speech.
THAT football game
My third graders a few years back had been pestering me to organise a football game with another school in the town. For an entire week before the game I’d find pieces of scrap paper scribbled with different formations, tactics and predictions all over the classroom. To say the kids were a tad excited is the understatement of the century.
I did my best to tell them how winning wasn’t the most important thing and that they had to show good sportsmanship but if I’m completely honest I couldn’t stop myself getting carried away with them. The morning of the game there was high fives and fist bumps going on everywhere but the other school took an early lead.
Watching my little third graders all encouraging each other and digging deep was something really quite emotional to watch and in the dying minutes when the ball bounced off the head one of my least athletic kids to win the game I couldn’t help letting out a few fist pumps of my own.
I can still hear the hysterical, ‘CBS ARE THE BEST’ chants on the walk back to our school.
Cofradia the type of town that you pretty much bump in to someone you know every time you leave your house. This year I bumped in to a former student of CBS who’s now 18. It’s always nice to catch up with old students and hear all about what they’re doing now. It turns out that this girl has been offered a scholarship to go to a university in the USA and leaves to study in August. She was very excited about travelling somewhere new and studying. She explained to me that without the education she received at CBS and the work of the volunteers, she doesn’t think she would have been able to get an opportunity like this.
After giving so much time here, it was so encouraging to see a real individual story of how the work we do down here does make a concrete difference to people’s lives.
Sailing in Belize
Volunteering in Honduras has given me lots of opportunities to explore and travel during vacations. Of all these trips, the one that stands out the most has to be the 3 day sailing trip in Belize.
A few years back me and another volunteer hopped on a few chicken buses and boats and ended up on Caye Caulker in Belize (if you imagine a stereotypical Caribbean island and then imagine the ocean being a little more blue and life a little slower-paced you’re almost there.) From there we took a sailing trip down the coast back towards Honduras. The days were spent snorkelling with turtles and spear fishing and the nights were spent camping on tiny islands and grilling our days catch.
I came to Honduras for the school, I stayed for the grilled lobster!
The first time I left Honduras I was picked up at my house by one of my students’ families on my last day and taken to a restaurant where the entire class was waiting to surprise me. I’d been so upset and down about leaving and so the party really helped cheer me up before I had to leave. There was lots of cake and they’d all been practicing some songs to sing for me which was just the cutest thing.
Leaving is always hard but when you get memories like this to take with you it’s that little bit easier. I’m already excited for the new highlights the next time I come back.
Mr James, Serial Volunteer