Archive for 'News'
As we reach mid-year we did another survey to see what feedback and advice our volunteers would offer to the incoming volunteers who will take their place. Transition is hard and we really appreciate that our volunteers have always been very supportive to help prep new folks coming in to work with the children.
Here are some of the questions and answers.
• How did you learn about our project?
|Searched internet mainly for low cost volunteer options||
• What is some advice that you would like us to share with upcoming volunteers? It can be essential items to bring, kinder info, travel tips, suggested weekend excursions, etc.
~ It is worth treating yourself to Utila once, it is fun and can be done on a budget.
~ Bring a computer if you can, most volunteers like to use wifi and write on them at home. You can make your own decision about how much time you spend on it.
~ It is better to bring supplies for crafts and activities than gifts for individual children, although it seems like a nice thing, it is unwise to give presents, and they will just sit in the basement where the kids who see them will ask for them constantly and be disappointed not to get them.
~ Transition is hard, give yourself at least a few weeks before judging the program and/or how you fit in it.
• Please give an estimate of what you spent WEEKLY on the following:
~ Housing at the volunteer house - 300 to 400 Lempira a week.
~ Food – 500-700 Lempira per week.
~ Supplies for your work at the project – 100-200 Lempira each week.
~ Weekend travel – 300 Lempira a week.
• What was the most challenging aspect of your volunteer experience with HondurasChildren?
~ Working with people who live in such poverty because it breaks your heart to see how hard they work and how little they have. It is difficult knowing you have so much money and basically all you could ever need and seeing all the things they don’t have. Yet still they are very grateful and appreciative.
~ The program can only do so much in the community, and it can be hard to disagree or not understand those perimeters, sometimes even disagreeing with them. Since the dynamic between the organization and the people it is helping is so complicated and nuanced, often one’s take on it does not match up with the official decisions. That can be hard to deal with on a daily basis, while I know that there are reasons for these decisions, being the arm of them can feel bad.
~ Coping with misbehaved children without any support from their families.
~ Four months seemed so long when I first came to El Porvenir but now that I am almost finished, it is clear that I am only just beginning to gain an understanding of the issues that the children and the organization face each day.
• What was the very best part of your volunteer experience with HondurasChildren?
~ The people. I love the coordinators and the other volunteers and feel quite close to many of them. Even people you do not get along with well here have an intimate understanding of you and the complicated situation we live in here. This makes them like family. Also I love the children we work with and many people in the community very much. Learning about each child, understanding what makes them special, and knowing all the intricacies of their personality is a wonderful thing, and it makes it easier to help them grow and learn. Knowing all of the challenges in their little lives can be sad, but understanding the community better and the context for some of these small tragedies has been interesting and powerful.
~ Living and working with such fantastic people. Each of the volunteers who I have met has worked so hard with me and also laughed so hard, if that makes sense. Sharing these great times with these great people has been an experience that I will always treasure.
~ Working with the amazing children! Getting to know the real life in a developing country. Meeting and becoming friends with volunteers from all around the world.
~ Getting to work with such great kids! They are so amazing and wonderful, hardworking and fun! I really can’t even imagine how much I will miss them when I go and I know I will think of them every day.
Thanks again to all of the volunteers who shared some input about their experiences!!
While El Porvenir is a very poor town just west of the small city of La Ceiba, it’s also a very beautiful and active place. The Caribbean sea is just to the North and the Pico Bonito mountains and waterfalls are just to the south.
There is a lagoon just a short walk from where the volunteers live and it is where the river runs into the sea. . . . It’s not always so quiet though! It’s a favorite place for the volunteers and the children to play and swim.
If you’d like to see what the rooftop view is of El Porvenir, check out this quick video from Charlie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbWoTASYOpo
More pix coming soon!
Read this article in Honduras Weekly for info on some airlines who have started flying right into La Ceiba. This is great news for all of us who travel frequently to the area since it will shorten the trip by several hours. Canadian and northern U.S. volunteers, take note – - flying out of Toronto, Canada may now be your best route.
We did a survey of some recent volunteers and asked the question, “What is some advice that you would like us to share with upcoming volunteers? It can be essential items to bring, kinder info, travel tips, suggested weekend excursions, etc.” – - The following are some responses.
• Always clean up your mess. Leave things better than you found them.
• Go with the flow. Do not expect people to be on time or to follow a schedule!
• Clear expectations of projects to design and/or implement.
• Bring lots of books and quiet games to play at night or during the day when it is too hot.
• Communicate well about your schedule.
• Must go to Cayos Cochinos!
• Insect spray and good sandals.
• Take time to play!
• Bring some of your own supplies to do activities with the children.
• Never be negative.
• A background in spanish is very helpful. Some knowledge of the language will help you communicate effectively with the kids during the kinder.
• The children need work on letter-sound recognition activities, basic math fact activities, beginning level spanish readers.
• Sit and visit with Nena on the corner, have your hair cut by Junior the barber, have lunch at Mario’s on the end, swing in Luis’s hammocks at dusk, and visit Alfredo for a banana soda and some fine 80′s tunes at the yellow bar/restuarant.
We also asked, “What was the very best part of your volunteer experience with HondurasChildren?”
• The most amazing part of my volunteer experience was bonding with Meladis/Iris the mother of Claudio,Roussel, Wakiria, Noe and Jason. It was difficult to win her trust. However, once we had, she was willing to share her thoughts and ideas. Also, the children and community were so warm and welcoming. I fell for the kids within minutes and they showed mutual affection and appreciation. Leaving will go down as one of the hardest “see you later’s” in my life. I really hope to return to El Porvenir next summer to visit not only the kids but the friends I have made.
• I was very proud that I was able to travel on my own and make this a great experience for the children and for me.
• The children, Rosa and Charlie and Amalia!
• I treasure the friends that I have made and that includes the people in El Porvenir, the other volunteers and Charlie and Amalia. Thank you everyone for such a fantastic experience.
• I loved working with the kids and getting to know the locals. I had a great time hanging out with people in my free time and was very sad when I had to leave. I felt like I made some really good friends that I’d like to someday visit in the future.
What do volunteers do each day in El Porvenir? A lot! The first part of the day often involves rounding up the children and walking over to the kinder.
We do schoolwork too . . .
Sometimes we help Amalia in the garden . . .
Here is a day we cleaned up the beach . . .
And then we played at the beach!
Volunteers help with hygiene too!
We are all volunteers and we welcome you to help support and love the children of HondurasChildren of El Porvenir! ¡Muchas Gracias!
So much has happened these past few months. There were a few earthquakes back in May. Well, more than a few but very little damage. The funniest reports came from our volunteers inhabiting the top bunks at the beach house – - yikes! But all is well and everyone was fine.
Then came the “coup” that wasn’t a coup. The international media really got this wrong at first. For great info on what really happened and is currently happening, visit this blog by a local La Ceiba ex-pat: http://lagringasblogicito.blogspot.com/.
And then the real story – - and that is that our volunteers are doing a great job working with the children of El Porvenir. ¡Muchas gracias to the crew from Duke University who did community health surveys! Also, many thanks to the ongoing international volunteers currently working at the kinder. (See below.) Your work is appreciated and more important than you could ever imagine.
Hello to all of our friends in Honduras and around the world!! We’re excited to welcome our upcoming volunteers to the HondurasChildren’s Kinder and Grandma’s project in El Porvenir, Honduras!
Please pass the word to your family and friends about how to help HondurasChildren by sponsoring a child or becoming a volunteer.
We send a huge THANK YOU for your support as we celebrate the successes of our projects and of the children who benefit!