OLANCHO AID FOUNDATION INC
November 28, 2010
Well, where do I begin? At this moment 3 weeks before Christmas and after being here for 15 or so months I can say is a great experience but also probably the most demanding undertaking of my life. Teaching anywhere is hard, I have been told (teaching here in Honduras is my first real teaching experience), but combine that with being away from home, always being hot, living in a third world country and a student culture that is much more rowdy than what we are used to in the States and you have a the challenge of an OAF volunteer.
With that said, I am certain that after moving on from here I will be a much stronger person. Also, there are many wonderful things that have come from my experience. My Spanish has improved greatly, although I wish it were better, I have learned how to live without the conveniences of the USA (both domestically and in the classroom), I have spent time with amazing people, both Hondurans and North Americans, and I have learned about myself.
There were things that I wanted coming down here, some which have happened and others that have not (to my frustration). Also there are things that I hadn't expected and have happened (to my delight).
Of the former I have done a good amount of traveling, picked up a good amount of Spanish and have had a chance to experience the wonderful people/culture of Honduras. To my frustration I want more personal time to do some soul searching as I live away from my former lifestyle in the States. However, being a teacher at Santa Clara leaves little time for that.
As for the unexpected delights, by chance, I am currently roommates with a Honduran, Mario, for my second year. Through Mario I have been able to connect with Honduras through an insiders perspective.
Having said all this, there is still 7 months until the end and much can change in that time. As for anyone who is thinking of volunteering, this will demand all of your energy: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, but perhaps, like St. Francis said, "It is in giving that we receive."
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Seeing the beginning of the new junior high, scholarship program and progress in my students.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Have a more structured Spanish program for the volunteers as well as more spiritual resources available (priest to talk to).
Volunteer & I am a junior high teacher at a bilingual school.