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.
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.
Keidy and Blanca My second place winner!