Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Little Taste of the Culture



The entire time I was in Honduras, I often complained about not knowing the culture of Honduras. I was there for months and felt like I knew nothing about the history of Honduras. Throughout the months I noticed that Honduras is very Americanized. I witnessed a lot of American things in Honduras- clothing being number one. The only time I saw the custom clothing of Honduras was when the girls had dances for Father’s Day, Mothers, Day, etc… I was able to witness El Día del Indio, which is a national holiday celebrated on July 20th.  It’s a celebration day of Lempira, an Indigenous leader who brought different indigenous tribes to fight against Spanish domination. That was the most cultural day I witnessed. I was able to learn about Lempira, the different types of clothing they wore, and what they were made from. It was such a beautiful day. The clothing they wore was all natural. It was made from leaves, pine needles, rice, beans, corn, corn stock, rocks, pebbles, coconuts- everything imaginable that was natural. Each class performed something- skits, dances, or speeches. We ended the day having real traditional Honduran food. El Día del Indio was a day where I truly experienced the culture of Honduras. It was a day of laughter for everyone.

Lempira


All different types of natural material used for the costumes





Our Indias Bonitas
Ledix, I Ciclo
Lisbeth, I Ciclo
Victoria, II Ciclo
Angeles, III Ciclo
India Bonita Winner
Jessica, I de Bachillerato
Belky, II de Bachillerato

The girls with some tutors and Sr. Marta
Some of the typical Honduran food
The third year winners

My girls- Primero de Bachillerato

Another bit of culture I experienced was something I struggled with, still struggle with and don’t understand to this day. It’s the dating/married world there. One of my seniors dropped out of school with 5 weeks left of the semester. She had 3 weeks of classes and exams left, and the final 2 weeks were left to clean, watch movies, hang out with the tutors, and basically just relax. Apparently she didn’t want to return to school, something no one knew about. Her friends in her classes didn’t even know this information. She moved in with her boyfriend, which apparently means you’re married here? However, you’re not married under the Catholic Church. This is something I just do not understand. When this happens the girl isn’t allowed to return to school because she is not following the values of the school, which are Respect, Honesty, and Responsibility. What breaks my heart most about this, is the day she moved in with her boyfriend was the day I spent with her in Tegucigalpa. My roommates and I decided to spend our last vacation at home relaxing. During that week my seniors were going to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, to take their graduation pictures. She and I had conversations about the end of the school year, about which classes she liked, how the school year went, excitement for graduation, and what she was planning to do after graduation. We had such a good conversation that I was so happy and excited for her. I was so hopeful for her and her future. She had plans to go to the university and study nursing. She spoke about volunteering in a clinic to get a glimpse of what nursing is like and learning about nursing hands-on. Little did I know that she would return to Tegucigalpa that night to move in with her boyfriend. From what I understand she told her parents through a text message. I’ve met her father several times and he is such a nice man. He isn’t the type of dad that doesn’t pay attention to his daughter’s life. He is so active within the school community and always approached me to see how she was doing in class. Granted I didn’t know all the facts to this situation. I do know that she had several meetings with the sisters, together and separate. Her father and older sister also met with her and the sisters- no one and nothing could change her mind. She was given several days to think about what she was doing and to go home and focus and think without living is his house. What infuriates me more than anything is that her “boyfriend/husband,” whatever you want to call him, is a teacher in the aldeas (mountains) and is following through with this messed up situation. Aside from my anger and disappointment of this situation, she was given an incredible opportunity. The sisters allowed her to take her finals and study at home, but she was not permitted in the school. She was told that I was willing to work with her outside of school and wanted to study with her. She had my cell phone number and knew where I lived but refused any help. I remember breaking down when I heard this news. I cried for days about her and my students saw me cry. I was crying for her and upset and worried about her and her future. Eventually my tears weren’t for her anymore. They were for my students and what she did to them. For days I watched her best friend struggle with this and try to hold back her tears. I didn’t know how to approach this situation. I never experienced anything like this before. I tried to try my best to hold back my tears and talk with the girls. I remember saying to them that education is the most important thing in their life. Right now, each of them is the most important person in her life. A few years ago I remember one of my teachers telling my class that anyone can strip you of everything you have, but no one can strip you of your education. I told them the same message I received when I was their age. Each one of them listened to me, and this wasn’t the type of listening they did in class. It was a different type of listening that I can’t explain. I don’t know if the message reached every girl but I know that several of the girls learned this message before I spoke. The entire year my focus was to lead them to understand the importance of learning and taking advantage of everything the world has to offer them. I do have hope for them. I know that some will be very successful in their work and if they stay on the education path they will have an incredibly successful future. Having one of my students drop out of school with very little of the school year was something heartbreaking. The sisters and several of the tutors tried to explain that this is the culture in Honduras. It has been the culture for years and sadly it wasn’t going to change anytime soon. It’s a culture I refuse to believe or think about because I believe that some of my students can help change and can prove that culture incorrect. Unfortunately Honduras has very little hope of changing or being successful anytime soon, but I have hope that my students can do well and continue to do well throughout their life and influence others in their families and within their communities.


One of my favorite moments from the year was when Blanca, one of my favorite students and smartest student in both of my classes, won second place in the first annual mathematical state exam. She was preparing for two weeks for this exam and I saw her and two other students from my class studying every minute of the day. When I walked into school in the morning they were already buried deep in their books. There were times when they came to me for help with problems and I couldn’t think of the explanation immediately. There were several times I needed to review the questions before answering. I spoke with Sr. Teresa before the exam complaining that the questions they gave us to prepare wasn’t the material they studied throughout the year and I was having trouble explaining the questions. Sr. Teresa likes to tell everyone I’m a perfectionist and how I want 100% from each of my students, which is true. I want each of them to do the best they can and fight to succeed. Anyway, after this exam I approached all the girls afterwards excited to hear how the test went and what happened. All nine girls just made those faces that meant not well and saying no Talty, I didn’t know any of the information. I was so upset for them because they had been studying and working hard. I remember my student Blanca telling me she didn’t think she did well at all. BUT she received second place! When I heard Blanca won second place in the exam and received a 97% I couldn’t have been more excited. I felt like a mom and couldn’t have been more proud of Blanca. I almost cried with excitement because two girls in our school won and were perfect representations of CMP. Blanca gives me all the hope in the world. I have nothing but confidence in her. She has such a strive for education that is so incredibly refreshing to see. She's always questioning and asking for more work- she is the perfect student. Other students in my classes show the same dedication and motivation for school and education, so I do have hope for the future of Honduras- hope for the girls at CMP.


                       Keidy and Blanca                                                                                My second place winner!
 


The Mathletes 

Bachilleratos

My Visitors



So, I know I have been the worst blogger in the world. I have so much to say but I’m a talker, not a writer. My time in Honduras was amazing so it's very difficult to find the words to explain it.

I was so blessed to have visitors travel to Honduras to see me and see everything I was doing. I was so lucky to meet Helen’s family and Jenny’s family and hang out with them for a few weeks. My two favorite visitors were obviously my mom and my friend Dan. In the beginning of the year I didn’t think anyone would travel to Honduras- it’s a third world country and most people I know would rather spend a vacation elsewhere. I think both my mom and Dan loved their experiences there. Everyone has different experiences when they visit and it was so great to see their interactions with the girls. My mom doesn’t know anything after “hola” and with her Irish accent her pronunciation was entertaining. Dan was able to communicate with the girls because he was able to keep up with the Spanish language- very impressive Dan! I think both were incredibly impressed with the girls and what the school is like. I know when I first arrived it definitely passed my expectations.





 Images of Centro Marie         
           Poussepin



MOM COMES TO VISIT
                  



While both were there, we followed my normal schedule- classes, gym, farm, eating- nothing too exciting. The best part of the day was when small groups of girls approached us (ignored me unless they needed translation) and questioned them about everything and anything. They’re a very curious group of girls and throughout the year I watched them become more comfortable with visitors and volunteers. When a family member visits they never leave their side. My mom’s favorite girl was Nicolle, a second year student. She is loud, energetic, and loving. I always say crazy or a lunatic when describing her. My mom loved her and she loved my mom. Everyday I heard “How is my Nicolle?” and “Como está su mami?” and eventually that changed to “Como está mi mami?” I loved seeing the two of them interact. She never shut up or stopped screaming and my mom didn’t understand anything she said but couldn’t help but love her. Her reasons for loving her were she’s loud, she’s outgoing, she’s not afraid, she’s tough, she has a great personality, and she has a great attitude- something you need there. Nicolle is an incredible young girl- she is loud, rambunctious, and obnoxious, but very caring and affectionate too.  She has a lot more to learn before she’s ready for the world outside of the school.



                                                                          The rambunctious Nicolle

       
My wonderful students at the farm
     
                    
                                                           Primero de Bachillerato                                                        


My student Laura



 




Dan’s favorite girl was Alejandra, a first year student. She’s a cute little girl with a lot of spunk. She is his favorite because 1- she’s adorable and 2- she wanted to be friends with him and always wanted pictures with him. I watched her change throughout the year. In the beginning she wouldn’t talk to anyone and hated the school, and within a few months she was always full of energy and more talkative. I watched her interact with more students and more volunteers through the months.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say all the girls fell in love with Dan. The younger girls surrounded him each day because they have all the energy and confidence in the world. Some of the older girls were a bit more reserved and shy around him. However, after he left I was bothered non-stop and was questioned every day, “Have you talked to him?” “How’s he doing?” “Does he miss us?” "Is he going to visit again?” The questions eventually slowed down, but they lasted for some time. These girls have a great memory about all     the visitors they meet and never stop asking about them.
                       





                                                               At the farm with my students
                    
Dan was lucky enough to receive a massage from Blanca. 
He was also serenaded by my classes with "My Heart Will Go On"



Some of the first year students








        Some of the third year students


And of course, 
                                                                                     ALEJANDRA!
                         
   


Thursday, July 4, 2013

A few good stories...


Hi everyone :) I’m so sorry it has been months since I’ve last written. For a country where it feels like everything goes by so slowly, time really creeps up on you. It definitely doesn’t feel like I’ve been here for 6 months- I’ve already passed my halfway mark. There are so many updates and stories to tell that I really have no idea where to begin. I’ll just give quick updates for now, and hopefully you’ll receive another blog soon.

We’re a few weeks into second semester now so my classes have changed. I’m still with my students but now have 2 Chemistry, 2 Physics, and a Math class. I’m hoping this semester will be a bit easier because most of the material relates to Math, which is my favorite subject. All the girls tell me I’m crazy because I enjoy it, but each time someone understands a problem I get so excited. Some of the girls in the younger classes always ask me for help, and I secretly love it. They get so excited when they understand a problem and want more to practice, how can anyone not be happy over that?

All of my students passed first semester! The majority of my students did extremely well and our parent-teacher conferences went smoothly. One of my students received a 40/40 on her Math exam, a subject she was struggling with. She was so happy that she told everyone in the school and couldn’t wait to tell her parents. Anyway, I was a complete wreck leading up to finals. I generally don’t sleep too much here, but I barely slept during finals. I arrived earlier and earlier to the school each day. Most days I was there before the girls had breakfast. A common question from everyone was “Talty, how many hours?”, then they would guess, and my answer was always it’s not important. I did receive some crazy looks when I walked in each morning. I also have been caught taking naps at school too. One day I was grading papers and somehow fell asleep, instead of anyone waking me up, Sr. Teresa took a picture of me! The desk was covered with papers, my head on my arm, red pen in hand, and I was sleeping. Another day I slept during snack time, completely slept through the bell, and was 10 minutes late to class. Clearly my students didn’t go running for me. I’ve also had a quick nap at the farm waiting on something to do, however, it wasn’t just me that time- it was a class nap.


                                  COPAN 
We had two 1-week vacations where I was finally out of Guaimaca and exploring different cities. During Semana Santa (Holy Week) Jenny, Helen, and myself went to Copan and Comayagua. In the beginning of the week we were in Copan and visited all of the Mayan ruins. I was in complete shock of what I was seeing- temples, statues, figures, the real ruins. I wish I had more appreciation of history when I was younger and learning all of this is school, instead I walked around and tried to read whatever I could, or take pictures and remember to research it all when I went back home. Somehow we also got talked into going to a bird museum and I don’t really like birds to begin with. However, the museum was beautiful. I don’t really remember too much about all the birds I saw, but I do remember being pegged by a parrot. Yes. I had one parrot on my shoulder and two on my arms. One decided to bite my shirt and put holes in it, and then I got a nice little bite from it. So, I definitely am not an avid bird lover like our wonderful tour guide.

After a few days in Copan we traveled to Comayagua to experience one of the best celebrations for Holy Week. Comayagua is such a beautiful city during Semana Santa. It was procession after procession. It is known for its carpet making. The night of Holy Thursday everyone gathers in the street and waits to make carpets. These carpets are made from all different types of materials – cornstarch, sand, rice, eggs, popcorn, rocks, etc... People spend the entire night creating their carpets. Everyone knows this is an all-nighter and comes prepared for it. We thought we would be helping to work on a carpet, but didn’t find out until close to 3AM that there was nothing for us to do. So instead of helping, we returned at 7AM and found people still working on their carpets. After we toured around and got pictures of each carpet we were waiting for the procession, which was a parade of people walking through each carpet destroying everything while holding the statue of Jesus carrying the cross, this was Good Friday. It was amazing to see, carpets that people had working on for 10+ hours were destroyed in minutes. Later on there was another procession, the 7 Last Words of Christ procession. An angel led each word – these little girls were gorgeous, so beautifully dressed and adorned with all different types of jewels and materials. They were dressed up as if it was their wedding day. All the processions in Comayagua were truly amazing. It was beautiful to see how passionate and strong everyone is in his/her beliefs. It was an incredible vacation – interesting, historical and religious. I didn’t have any expectations before going on vacation, although I don’t think anything could have beaten it.



                                     Holy Thursday Procession, beatifully handmade carpets, Good Friday Procession, and an Angel                                                                     


     
                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                            

EASTER SUNDAY
 We went to the Easter Vigil mass Saturday night. It started around 8PM and we left the church at 1AM – yes a 5 hour mass. The majority of the mass was in the pitch dark, (I might have nodded off here and there during the mass) but at 12AM the church became alive. Lights were turned on, music was playing, all of the statues were being uncovered, and the celebration of the risen Christ finally started. The sign of peace usually takes a few minutes, but during this mass it took forever because the priest went around to everyone celebrating and saying “Christ is risen!”. Easter Sunday was also my 23rd birthday and I am extremely lucky that I was able to spend it here with the sisters. After the mass Sr. Teresa and Sr. Marta were the first people to wish me happy birthday, and then a happy Easter. They appeared to be just as happy about my birthday as they were for Easter, and that’s saying a lot because they are sisters, and obviously Easter is a huge celebration. Later we had Easter dinner with the sisters, and it was delicious! It wasn’t rice and beans (which I do enjoy) – it was fruit salad, salad, and a home cooked meal of mashed potatoes, vegetables, and ham.  And then there was cake! It was just a great day in general. Jenny and Helen also made me cake for my birthday which ended up being a replica of the Mayan temples. The week in general was amazing and Sunday was a nice ending to the week.


Fr. Mark also came to visit us and spent the weekend with us. It was such a good weekend and it was nice to have someone from home visit.  He is quite the cook – Sunday morning he cooked a delicious breakfast for all the sisters, Jenny, Helen, and myself. It’s unfortunate that he couldn’t stay for longer. He’s such a busy man that I never got the chance to know him at Stonehill. My only other interaction with him was approaching him the night of the Christmas Alumni Party in NY and telling him I really wanted to come here and wanted the program to remain open. Helen and I were able to spend some time with him separately talking about the program and our time here. He pointed out to me that I am a proud, stubborn, New Yorker, with an Irish heritage, which is pretty much true and I think most people would agree on, but no one else can say it to my face….however, I’ll try not to be as stubborn.
  



I just returned from my second vacation where Helen, Jenny, Jenny’s sister Emily and I spent a week in Roatan, one of the Bay Islands. It is absolutely beautiful there, I can’t even explain how pretty everything is there and believe me, pictures do not do it justice. I had such an amazing week relaxing in the sun. I went snorkeling for the first time and experienced the beauty of the ocean. I swam with all different schools of fish and explored the Coral Reef. I traveled to a private island and played with monkeys. I wanted to take Lisa, one of the monkeys home with me. She was so adorable and just held onto you and put her head on your chest like a baby would do.  I also swam with dolphins – my favorite day of the week! I have always wanted to swim with dolphins ever since I was young, and finally it happened- I finally received my dolphin kiss! The day was more than incredible. I was able to play underwater with all the dolphins too. I would grab seaweed and within seconds dolphins all ready to play surrounded me. One even bit my finger taking the seaweed from me. 


                                           
                         

                         ROATAN


                                           Finn!                                                            Lisa & Romeo
                                                                                        
M               My roommates Helen & Jenny
               


However, as much as I enjoyed my vacation, I could not stop thinking about my students and all the girls at the school. They were on my mind the whole vacation. I wanted them to experience everything I was able to experience. I wanted them to experience everything with me - snorkeling, playing with monkeys, swimming with dolphins, going to the beach, getting milkshakes, everything. I know each of them would love Roatan. Little things reminded me of them every day. For example, one night someone was singing Gangham Style which reminded me of one of my favorites who loves that song and taught all the girls to sing it to me because I dislike the song so much. After the song, I talked about her for about 15 minutes. I was able to see or hear something everyday which kept them on my mind. I don’t think the girls know but they have made such an impact on my life and I adore each one of them, even those who are divas and those who are frustrating. I always knew how much the girls meant to me, but it took me to Roatan to realize how much I missed them. I was ready to go home at the end of the week. I was ready to head back to school. I wasn’t ready for the start of the semester, but I was ready to go home and see the people I consider family here. That Monday morning has easily been one of my favorite days here so far. I couldn’t have been more excited to see each one of their faces and give them huge hugs and kisses. They don’t know what they’ve done for me and I can’t really explain it, I just know that they will be with me forever.


I know this was a very, very long message, but trust me I tried to speed it up as much as possible. I’ll try to keep up with blogs so you can know quicker, shorter updates. You just have to remind me. A lot of you wanted a quick update and others wanted to have this experience with me, so this is in the middle.                                
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Enjoy and take care, xoxox

                                                
                                                  My wonderful students, Primero y Segundo Bachillerato                                 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yo Puedo Siempre



I’m still here, I’m alive, and I’m loving every minute of it so far.  I have so many updates I don’t know where to begin.  I was hoping to post this blog two weeks ago but it seems like I don’t have time for anything other than cleaning and school work.  It’s easy to say that I’m never bored here; there is always something to do/something to clean.  I feel guilty if I’m not studying or making lesson plans or cleaning.  Before coming here I wouldn’t have felt guilty for relaxing or just hanging out.  It’s so different here.  I watch the girls at the school do their chores three-four times a day, every single day.  They are always so busy cleaning or scrubbing something that I feel like I should be doing that at home.  I like to think that I’m learning more than just Spanish from the girls – seeing how much they clean makes me clean more.  Before here I wouldn’t have swept my bedroom floor multiple times during the week, or iron my clothes, or clean bathrooms, or take care of the garden, etc… At home I usually clean my room, do my laundry, and help out if needed.  I’ve always relied on my mom to do the rest of the cleaning.  It’s definitely different now that I’m living on my own, especially in this country where all I see are people cleaning and in a few hours cleaning the same things over again.

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I’ve been here – sometimes it feels like I’ve always been here because I’m so comfortable with the girls and the school community.  It’s easy to say that my favorite part of Honduras is being at the school with all the girls and the sisters.  It’s difficult to put into words the feeling I have while I’m at the school because words can’t express something so amazing and wonderful.  It’s a constant happiness with the girls.  I’ve had times where I’ve been stressed with my classes and angry because I didn’t understand the material, but overall the feeling of happiness never leaves.  There are smiling faces all over the school from day until night.  There have been mornings where I’ve gotten to the school at 6 to finish work and I’m still half asleep and dreading the start of the day, but as soon as I enter the school there are usually 6-7 girls there to welcome me with bright eyes and smiles.  The girls are the first people I say hello to in the morning and last I say goodnight to – they are the best start for each morning and the best way to end the night. 

Teaching is… difficult, stressful, time consuming.  Making lesson plans are very, very time consuming.  Aside from translating the material into English for me, I need to break everything down into simple terms, be able to communicate the material easily to the girls, and be prepared for any possible questions in class.  I try to think of fun, interesting ways to keep their attention but sometimes Biology and Math don’t beat The Hunger Games or The Twilight Series.  Standing in front of the classroom is completely different from sitting behind a desk - I’m learning how to pay attention to each student’s individual needs and learning preferences; their strengths and weaknesses for subjects; how they learn best; what motivates them to learn; I’m slowly learning how to handle a class without having to tell someone to stop talking or behave.  The classes I thought I was teaching kept changing but I finally have a schedule now.  I’m teaching 10th grade Math, Biology, Biology Lab, and Chemistry; and 11th grade, Biology, Biology Lab, Philosophy and Math. 

So far the hardest class for me to teach is Philosophy.  I hated taking Philosophy in high school and college because I thought the material was boring and I never knew what to say.  I thought I would hate Philosophy but instead I really enjoy teaching it.  I think it’s because I can ask all the questions now and wait for responses.  The biggest goal I have this year is to make my students think.  The school systems here don’t teach students to think, to question, to explore.  Instead, they give a book and a CD for the students memorize the material, sometimes without understanding it.  They know the information on the CD, take the test, and pass.  The CD is so boring and just reading the textbook isn’t exactly helping them learn.  The girls here don’t realize they can do so much more because no one lets them know that.  All they need is a little push in the direction they’re looking for and support.  They were never taught how to learn, only to memorize which is incredibly frustrating when in class.  They have the lifestyles of their guardians memorized; if they don’t learn to grow and expand their minds, there won’t be any future change in their current lifestyles.



My first day of Philosophy I wrote on the board WHAT is Philosophy?  After no answer and blank stares they finally said they didn’t know anything about the subject.  Once they said that I wrote WHY are we learning Philosophy?  WHY are you at CMP?  WHY do you want to learn?  I think they got the hint that it’s all about asking questions.  We talked about the questions, but I received very general answers.  When asked: Why are we learning Philosophy, the responses were because the school makes us; however, they didn’t understand the importance of learning about the subject.  When I asked why the girls were at CMP/why do they want to learn it was because they need to learn, they hope to go to the university and eventually work after.  I don’t think the girls realize what they can do because of learning and expanding their minds.  I try to push them to give me more in depth answers, to make them use different words, to find different reasons for things – it’s difficult to break through to them.  I don’t know if it’s because they don’t feel comfortable talking in class or they aren’t confident in their responses or they really don’t know what to say.  I try to stress the fact that there aren’t correct or incorrect answers in Philosophy; it all depends on how you interpret questions, passages, or quotations and create your own responses, meanings, and understandings.  Class normally consists of myself and one other student talking the entire time.  When a student says something I keep questioning her and forcing her to think.  I don’t want my students to feel uncomfortable, I want them to expand their knowledge and look to find new, deeper meanings, I won’t let them look at what’s directly in front of them.

We’ve talked for two weeks now about the definition of Philosophy – it’s about thinking, questioning, learning, listening, having the desire for knowledge and power that leads to success, expanding the mind, and “thinking outside of the box”.  Most of our discussions were questions and trying to find more intelligent, deeper explanations responses.  I try to push them to ask more difficult questions, not to question what is right in front of them because then the answers will be simple.  I used myself as an example and asked what they see when they look at me – white, American, blue eyes, and brown hair.  I tried to explain that everyone could see that; they only look, they don’t have to talk to me or know me.  We talked about how they asked me very simple, easy questions about my life and my family.  Eventually they realized that they don’t know me as a person, just basic facts about my life because of the questions asked.  I think they finally understand that in order to find what they’re looking for, they need to question and delve deeper into the questions. 

Before we even opened our books we had discussed the definition of Philosophy in our own words, examined it, questioned it, and understood our own meaning.  During one class I gave each student separate instructions on where to sit or stand.  I didn’t explain anything to them, just told them what to do.  I saw curious faces and them looking at each other thinking I was crazy.  They stayed there about two minutes because I couldn’t handle the silence any longer.  I asked them if they had learned nothing during the week, why didn’t they question me?  I saw curiosity on each face, but instead of asking or questioning me they did what they were told to do.  I was disappointed because I thought they understood how important questioning is and this class is all about questioning.  I wrote our definition on the board and then the book definition of Philosophy.  I asked if the definitions were similar at all, everyone said no.  They won’t look for anything, instead they’ll read what is directly in front of them and that’s it.  By the end of class the board was full of different colors and lines and circles helping them realize the two definitions are exactly the same, the wording is the only difference.  One girl said our definition was prettier and she is exactly correct because it’s our definition - we created it without reading the book, it’s our own words, our own meanings and our own interpretations.  The definition we created will be easier to remember because we understand it, it belongs to us.  I have three words written on the board that have stayed there all week – PENSAR (think) PREGUNTAR (question) and SONREIR (smile).  My students do not smile in Philosophy.  I wish they would but it’s not a fun subject to sit through when someone is constantly questioning you.  My goal for this year is to help my students’ think and question, force them to expand their knowledge.  They don’t realize how powerful their minds could be because no one tells them.  Instead they do what they are taught and don’t move forward from there.  It’s frustrating to watch because I can’t do anything about it, I don’t have the answers and saying something to them won’t help.  They need to realize it and to understand it on their own and then go from there. 

On a different note from Philosophy, everything is going very well.  I love the school and the community at the school. The secretary is always telling me “tu puede siempre” meaning that I’ll be able to do this, I need to be patient with my Spanish, be confident and that it will come with time, poco a poco.  I’m definitely learning to be patient with myself here; it’s not something I’m very good at.  Everything here is definitely a learning experience and so far it has been truly incredible and wonderful.  As each week passes I learn to cherish even more of my time here.  This past weekend we had a Valentine’s Day party with all the professors/tutors at the school.  Two of the sisters came too, which was great!  I’m not sure what I like more about Honduras, being with the girls or being with the sisters, it’s always a good time regardless of who I’m with.  The sisters are so amazing and loving and caring.  Each sister is very easy to talk to; they’re humbling and funny, and always make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves.  Each day I’m asked if I slept well the night before, if I’m getting enough rest, if I’m being healthy and eating, and taking care of myself on the weekends.  They are definitely a huge comfort to have here and have become a family to me already.

I’m sure you can all tell that I’m loving it here and enjoying every minute so far.  I never speed up stories either so naturally my blog would be long.  My next one won’t be as philosophical, however if you have any ideas for me regarding Philosophy, please send them my way!

xoxo – GG (Guaimacan Girl – Thank you, Mike Lydon!)