Thursday, May 27, 2010

Volunteering in Progre

Sarah: My week volunteering with OYE has been incredible! I really enjoyed talking to all the students here at OYE and seeing how the program has impacted their lives. Their stories are so inspiring and I can't wait to see what they're going to accomplish in the future. My favorite part of this whole week was our service project at the Juan Ramon Morales School. We painted a mural on the side of the school, and we also had the kids put their handprints on the front of the building. They were all super excited to do their handprints...some of them did it three or four times! While we were painting the school all the kids would come out to watch us on their snack break. They all crowded around us in huge groups and watched us paint. I loved hanging out with the kids, and I love how excited they were about the mural. Their whole community was excited about it because in the afternoon a lot of parents and other kids came by to see what we were doing. This whole week has been amazing. We've spent a lot of time just talking to the people here and really getting a feel for what Honduran culture is like. It's so different from the US...people here are really connected with their neighbors and communities, while in the US we barely interact with ours. The people here are just so welcoming...we've been invited to eat in so many different homes just because we're here working with OYE. This past week has been absolutely amazing and I can't wait to come back in the spring! (fingers crossed that our trip proposal is approved) Me encanta OYE!!!!!!!

Sophia: This past week has been a crazy mixture of eye-opening and unforgettable experiences. I would have to say the most enlightening moments of the week occured (and occur) through talking with OYE kids. The structured group discussion on the Honduran Reality revealed the prominence of issues in the national educational system, and youth involvement with drugs and gang culture. The kids shared their ideas and experiences within both areas, and brainstormed resolution techniques for the former. This was truly fascinating to listen to, finding similaries and disparaties among life in the United States and here in Honduras. Last night, one of the OYE scholarship students taught us to dance la bachatta, la punta, meringue and salsa. Besides being a great way to learn more about Honduran culture (and have a lot of fun butchering the rythmic movements of each dance) we got into a deeper discussion of the differences in life and cultural philosophies between our two nations. Truly, Honduras has a beautiful national identity that is incredibly strong within its youth. I am enjoying every minute of my trip, and I hope to learn as much as I can about this new culture. In the meantime, I'm learning to dance la bachatta!

Greg: I was most influenced and inspired by the town we stayed in, El Progreso. If the experiences we shared as OYE volunteers were in any other place, they would not have had the same affect on me. El Progreso seen as two parts: the center, where the commerce takes place, and the neighborhoods spreading up into the mountains. The center contains a mix of fabulously wealthy families and the very poor. The very poor are those who are poor for Honduras standards. A salary that allows for decent apartment living is around $6000 USD. The very poor would be the group of women who earn $10 USD a week between them for making tortillas all day long. The mix creates a beautiful juxtaposition of comfort and struggle, influencing culture and the pace of the city. Indeed, I quickly learned the El Progreso way of life; forced patience, a controlled chaos in the streets, and spur of the moment activity. With this mentality of riding the flow, I was able to experience painting the mural and learning to dance almost as a Honduran, not a gringo. In El Progreso, it's impossible not to feel Honduran and love the people, and that's the best way travel abroad.

1 comment:

susan said...

Hi Sophie, Greg and Sarah! I read your blogs, and it sounds like this trip will have a lasting impact on all of you. I can hardly wait to hear more about it! Sophie's mom