Friday, January 9, 2009
Adios a Progreso
At first glance, El Progreso doesn't seem like a place you'd want to stay for five months. It's dusty and hot like an oven in the summer, it pours rain in the winter, and well, there isn't a whole lot to do.
But upon further examination I discovered, like the volunteers before me and many more to come, that El Progreso is a city like no other with an amazing culture and beautiful people. I arrived here in August planning to leave in September, but there was something about this place that convinced me to quit my job in New York City and stay here for a full five months. That something is OYE.
I came to OYE from Guatemala. I had already been traveling and studying Spanish in Central America when a family friend encouraged me to pass through Progreso and help with OYE's radio program. I came without knowing what to expect and what I found here was a community of amazing kids, volunteers, employees, Hondurans, Americans, students, and adults all working for a better future.
Now it is time for me to say goodbye to Honduras, Progreso, and OYE. They say that time flies when you're having fun, and my experiences here made these five months seem like much less.
Here are some of the highlights:
>Working with and getting to know the youth of OYE, especially my group of talented radio students
>Feeling the excitement and confidence of the radio group grow through the year and then peak as we produced our on-location broadcast at our end of the year scholarship event
>Teaching what I am passionate about in a different language to students in a new country
>Playing soccer with the OYE crew
>Traveling to the beaches in Tela, the capital in Tegucigalpa, the volcanic island of Amapala,
the small villages outside of Tocoa, the resorts of Roatan, the backpacker paradise of Utila, the Mayan ruins of Copan, the discos of San Pedro Sula, and doing it all with great friends
>Eating way too much fried food, beans, cheese, and flour tortillas and loving every minute of it
>Learning from the fascinating cast of OYE volunteers, employees and students
>Waking up one day in November and realizing that I can speak Spanish!
I am grateful for everything OYE has given me and will miss the staff, the students, and maybe even El Progreso itself. I am leaving behind a great group of "becarios", and I am confident that the successes we had in 2008 will only multiply in 2009. I can't wait to read about them right here.
Goodbye and good luck!