Sarah's Adventures in Honduras

Saturday, October 28, 2006

a friendly letter

Dear Electricity and Water,

How are you? You left so fast and didn't even tell me where you were going or when you would come back. I must admit that I have been very productive (though non-technologically) in your abesnce, but I've been missing you these past eight hours. Please come home soon (come back before dark)!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tonight we lost power. Just like old times :) It did the quick dim and stayed there just long enough for us to comprehend what was happening before plunging into darkness. “The rice is done!” I called out from my spot at the stove not because the rice was really done, but because it had to be at that point. We moved all of the food onto the back porch and went in search of the matches to light the candles we quickly mobilized to locate. We sat down to enjoy our peaceful candlelight dinner when I noticed that the neighbors’ porch light was on. So not fair! What! And then we realized that since the power was out we had just hadn’t turned our back porch light on :) So we actually HAD power at that point. We only kept the light on about 30 seconds before deciding to go with the original idea of our candlelight dinner. I positioned the candle just right so that when I went in for the bite with the fork I actually came back up with food :)

I like that I could lie in the hammock and see the stars so well tonight.

The news that solidified some hope for my nosedive of a day that I previously categorized as hopeless: There is a package waiting for me in San Pedro. It will be the first thing that has made it to this country for me—except a stinkin’ postcard from Calvin telling me that the Spanish department newsletter is now online. Uuuugh, major major groan.

T. G. I. almost half-day F! Heading to San P for Anna's b'day celebration which will almost certainly include Baskin Robbins and a movie :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I have a class pet. His name is Freddy. He is a blue, white, and green striped fish. Freddy also is about three fists long and lives without water. Sounds like a special fish, hey? He is also stuffed. But that doesn’t make my class love him any less. I mean, he is not just any fish. Freddy can’t be contained to a fishbowl, but can often be found on the lap of someone sad, riding the bus home to spend the night in a child’s arm, or making his rounds on the playground. I wish I had words to express the joy mixed with amusement from seeing two girls from my class skipping while holding on to either fin. Today I had a note discretely passed to me in class. It was folded several times with a happy face, two stars, and a sad face written on the top. I stuck it in my pocket without reading it as to hopefully show my disapproval in passing me notes while I am trying to teach. I found it later, opened it, and want to share it with you:

Mis sarah caNay Gafa Frede.

Do you know what it says? :) Ha! I will tell you. It says: Miss Sarah, Can I have a Freddy? :) I love it! Today I was so terrorized by children wanting to hang out with Freddy that I took him into the principal’s office and told the children that he was being punished for trying to eat my pencil, and that it was totally unacceptable :)

Speaking of things I have…I have a student that is confused about his identity. I’m afraid of my influence on this situation! Ok, it starts with the roster. His name is listed as Rafael Leonardo. I thought, perfect, a ninja turtle in my class ;) I called him Rafael from day 1. He wrote Rafael on all his papers. It was great. Until I started hearing people call him Leo. Oh no! But…he was writing Rafael on his papers…but he never really responded all that well when I called him Rafael…now that I think about it…hmm…I began to call use both names at the same time. Saying Rafael and then sticking Leo on at the end to reinforce that I was trying to get his attention, in case the first name didn’t work all that well. I even flipped them back and forth Rafael Leo AND Leo Rafael. I noticed that he began to write both names on his papers…oh man. What is your name!?! Then I was grading one of his papers and I noticed that he started writing Rafael an only got through Ra before he crossed it out and wrote Leo! I broke out into laughter that he had now completed a name change. These days he goes by Leo. I try to be consistent in calling him Leo, but I get confused sometimes in the moment and all names come out in an inconsistent order. Poor kid.

I also have some Hierba Boldo. Any ideas? We’ve got nothing. It is a mystery tea that one of my housemates bought—thankfully not in a small plastic bag, but in a regular tea box. It strikes us as strange that there are nutrition facts, but no ingredients…

(Update: Hilary: “Ok, don’t get anything boldo. It tastes like paint thinner.”
Anna: “What is boldo?”
Hilary: “I asked and they said, ‘Oh, you know…boldo…the herb.’”)

I'm not sure how they made the decision to buy it...I suppose we are a slightly adventurous bunch--you know the whole Honduras thing...

As for me. Sometimes the weeks go as fast as the American chocolate in our refrigerator (believe me…VERY fast). Then there are the other days when the kids leave and I sit down on the child-sized chair, lay my head down on the table and frustration turns to tears. This usually ends in me getting up the energy to walk to Anna’s room to propose quitting (don’t worry, I’m not serious :)). We walk home, lay in the hammocks, make licuados, eat that dang chocolate, and prepare for another day. This week has been good. We switched up the seats and I moved the tables into a formation in which they migrate much less. You have no idea how much this helps. As the tables move nearer to one another so do the children that touch each other by accident and end up punching each other. The little things. I also know at exactly what time of day the fan needs to be turned on so that the kiddos (and teacher) don’t get hot and irritable. It’s still hard. This morning I joked with Anna, “Ok, if they come we’ll do it, we’ll figure something out. If not, no problem, I’ll find something to do.” :) I’ve been waking up before my alarm these days. Insane since it goes off at 5:35am. This morning I was pumping myself up as I laid sleepily on the board I fondly refer to as my bed saying to myself over and over, “Today I’m going to love the ones that are hardest to love.” It is always good to remind myself of the reasons I am here on the days when it is hardest to be here. When the kiddos pretend they don’t understand me, or just won’t stop chatting. When they put glue in each others hair or run away and hide under a cactus when they get angry. When communication with friends in the States doesn’t go the way I want it to, when I find an ant crawling into my breakfast, when I go into the bathroom wearing my towel and there isn’t any water for a shower. Those days it is important to remember why I am here.

It is hard to believe how soon Christmas is coming. It has always seemed so distant—at the back of my mind as a wonderful time in the future—dreading the cold, but savoring even the thoughts of seeing friends and family I love so much. Recently it has become a much stranger thought. The thought of actually going to the airport, my bags in the back of Don Wil’s truck (maybe me in the back of Don Wil’s truck) and getting on an airplane to go to the States, but coming back to Honduras. It seems weird and unnatural. Scary even. It is easier to pretend not much has changed when I don’t have to face it everyday. I think I’ll chew on that and write more later.

I love you and goodnight.

Monday, October 16, 2006

to Copan!

So we headed significantly west this weekend to a town called Copan. It is a town probably not too much bigger than our own Cofradia, but couldn´t be much more different. Copan is a major tourist hotspot, while Cofradia is somewhere where you could hide from the mafia. There really isn´t the chance of anyone wandering into Cofradia without a purpose (like to visit your super cool friend or something). There is a lot to say about my trip to Copan, but I have to head home to make a language arts exam for the kiddos, so this will be short for tonight. I actually might have you vote on what you want to hear about later ;)

Copan. What I will really take from that trip is the stories--the funny stories, sad stories, adventure stories, and inspiring stories. One of my favorite acquaintances was a man named Amir, a wandering farmer from Israel who I found reading a book in bed one morning (we stayed in a hostel). He had cascading blond dreadlocks and a flexible plan. He didn´t know how long he was staying in town or where his next destination would be. He was traveling for an undetermined amount of time--probably for a few more months, and when I asked him if he would return to Israel, he wasn´t even sure. Blew me away.

The other thing that struck me was the number of people that we met doing different things that they found on the internet: Spanish schools, teaching at a bilingual school in Copan, in Santa Rosa de Copan, being dive instructors on the Bay Islands. When meeting these other teachers I couldn´t help but think to myself that their experience could have easily been mine and mine theirs. Such an interesting thought.

I will write more when I get a chance, but I will leave you with a few photos.

Bridget, me, Anna, Olivia (a teacher at the Mayatan school in Copan and friend of Emily), Emily

The town cathedral

Honduras is full of beautiful flowers. This picture was taken at the Mayatan school where we went to visit.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I am a victim of credit card fraud.

I am now going to cancel my only means of obtaining money.

Pretty dang crappy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It is hard to not get overwhelmed when I think about the small snippets of my life that add up to the paragraphs of my life that I want to share with you. I’d rather the snippets not multiply into the number of paragraphs that become so costoso (tedious) to read (or find the time to read!)

Yesterday morning when the first children started entering my classroom I wanted to freeze frame them into my memory—freshly showered and hair slicked back or to the side—some with a little bit of gel to hold that look for the rest of the day (yes, those few hair gel-ed know how cool they are). Their uniforms are still pressed, scrubbed back to white, not bearing the marks that so quickly come with play, from the dust that inhabits every centimeter of our classroom, the markers that they play with during class (that I confiscate! It really is amazing how much stuff I confiscate each day! At recess and at lunch I end up with toys—cool stuff like motorcycle airplane transformers and water guns—sticking out of my pockets and pencils protruding from every angle out of my ponytail. What a sight I must be (though I’m slightly thankful for no full length mirrors in my life). Anyway, it is a look surely pioneered by their mothers, an image to lock into your memory, because certainly before 10am, those perfectly white uniform shirts don’t even know what hit them.

There was a day (it must be a few weeks ago now) that I finally became ok with being here. I never questioned my decision to teach here, and as you have read in earlier blogs, I am enjoying my housemates and my students, but there was still a sadness I felt about the change in my life (being a big one) and the ache to be sharing such an experience with the people I love in a more than please-read-my-blog way, but perhaps a them-here-with-me way ;) This day, it was the day after my town-wide search for bananas. I was itching for a banana licuado in the worst way. I tried every little pulp (pulpería=little general store that usually sells what you need in small quantities) I passed on my way home from school with no luck. What?! No bananas in Honduras? What was happening? It was a twilight zone experience. So I went home puzzled. The next day I was walking to where I was going to use the phone and a man stopped me on the street. I was a little startled because I didn’t recognize him, but then I realized he was just stopping me to tell me that there were bananas in the pharmacy (what pharmacy?) because he had seen my quest for bananas the previous day!

Anna and I started walking to school the back way, the much more scenic route. I’d like to say that it was because of the better scenery, but in reality it probably had something to do with the fact that vehicles (cars, trucks, and buses alike) all seemed to have it out for us as we walked down the more traveled road. It almost seemed to be a game to see how close they could fly past us on the street forcing dust and exhaust upon us. Mom, I’m sure you’re very glad at this moment that we are no longer walking that way. I thought of you in this decision ;) It also takes away the crushed anticipation when we do not get picked up by any students’ parents as they take their child to school :)

And as for funnies…

This first one shows how much my students have progressed because I don’t think they would have picked up on this before. I was reminding them sternly (once again!) to raise their hand when they have something to say. This is so uber important in our setting where there is so much noise from all sides! But instead of saying, “Please raise your hands!” I said, “Please raise your names!” I didn’t even realize my mistake until one of my students pointed it out to me! I started chuckling and shared with my class the mistake that I had made. For the past two days whenever Julia raises her hand she yells out “Julia!” When I questioned what she was doing she said smartly that she was “raising her name.” Ha.

One funny one that got us all laughing in the house was at the expense of one of Bridget’s ninth grade students. Neto was writing about his grandfather that had died from a “heart unemployment.” Bridget caught this while she was grading and asked us all what we thought he meant by that. Finally it came to us. Do you get it? He was trying to say that his grandfather died when his heart stopped working! Stopped working! Unemployment! Ah!

Ok, lastly I want to tell you that Marilyn’s mother is here. We were all excited. New face. News from the North (p.s. please tell me if there are ever any giant tropical storms heading my way…) It has been better than Christmas! She brought us a Delta Airlines carry on sized bag full of chocolates! A box of oreos! Magazines! TV series on DVDs! She brought me facewash! Hilary has a stopwatch! It has raised moral that is fo shizle. Alright. More soon. Exams next week. But hopefully before then.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

another weekend in gringolandia

I woke up this morning not in my usual tranquil state of Saturday morning bliss. Maybe it was because it was not hot enough to sufficiently enjoy the gentle breeze of the fan blowing detering the heat from my slumber. I rolled out of bed, regardless, wrapping my sarong around my shoulders to later wrap around my legs as a means of bug protection during a hammock reading session. I'm reading a book called Shutterbabe--a book about a female photojounalist and her world travels starting in Afganistan covering the war. I'm only about 30 pages in, but her writing style has captured me. It is intriguing to read about how she has chosen to live her life--in many ways that I would choose not to live mine. It makes me think. Before heading out to the hammock I heard two of my housemates--Bridget and Emily--having a conversation about all things fall. I couldn't even listen. I heard bits and pieces of "hot....cider....yellow..." and flew through the common living space to the hammock. I love fall. I love the weather. the colors of the leaves. apple cider. sweatshirts. everything that comes between the beginning of school and the first Michigan snow. I haven't been able to bring myself to look at the Calvin webcam that would show me the envious vista that the current Calvin kiddos get to see each day.

One more week until my kidlets get their first "exams." I'm pretty sure they'll pass shapes, symmetry, fractions, plant parts, and sentence subjects. Thursday was a mess (more about that later) but Friday ended with smiles all around. When they all had lined up at the door ready to be dismissed for the weekend, I made up an impromtu dance and Friday chant. They loved it and we danced down the hall waving our arms. The sight of them copying my ridiculous dance and chant made me laugh so much. That sounds kind of power hungry--but you know I'm not that way :)

Before I head off into the weekend--finish my fresh squeezed orange juice and start scrounging some food--I want to tell you about a funny moment that will escape me forever if I don't write it down. Anna and I were walking home from school one day when we almost ran into a large rope covering the road. Weird, we thought. Where is this rope coming from? The rope continued to the right and the left of the road, with children stepping on the rope holding it to the ground. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't trip over the rope as Anna and I puzzled, but ready to be home and sitting down somewhere continued on our walk home. As we turned the corner we could see the rope going into tall grass and attached to....A GIANT COW! Of course, we laughed. A giant cow. Right!

ok. food. maybe shower.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

a few more parade pics because they are so cute :)

the costumed kids :)

Oh Melvin!

Another picture of the ¨soccer team¨-notice the non-existant skin between shorts and socks!

Miguelito is tobacco!

Monday, October 02, 2006

So many times something happens and I can’t help but let out one of those uncontrollable laughs that just has to escape from inside. Most of the time I just want to share that moment with someone—like pop into Anna’s room during one of the more inappropriate times to have uncontrollable laughter. I try to make a mental note—to try to capture the moment exactly so that later I can put it into some kind of adequate words. That’s what I’ll try to do here. But then again when I think about what I am going to write about (not that I really think about it—it mostly falls out of my head down to my fingers and onto the screen) it is usually small little occurrences mixed into the daily routine of life that prove to be the most significant—at least to me—and I hope in some way are interesting to you.

I’ve actually already pre-written a blog that I have to post for you tonight. I wrote it this weekend when I also wrote about my time with Juan Carlos and his family that is so precious to me, but I had doubts that anyone would keep reading if I posted so much at one time—I mean, I’m not exactly shortwinded…ever! But I feel like there are a few thoughts I want to down tonight, so maybe this blog will pass the other blog on its way onto the page…

My computer had a stroke. I’m serious. I forgot if I told you or if I just think I told you that my computer has been a little on the frizz lately. My hypothesis is the heat and the effect that it must have on my computer’s ooooold age. It will start making a clicking noise and eventually blacks out and a little blue screen tells me that it is “dumping physical memory” which can never be good…eeek. It actually had recovered quite well (or so I thought) until…the stroke. I am currently missing out on the use of the a, q, z, 1, and ! keys (Obviously I must not be on the stupid computer since I was just able to type that) which, if you take a look at that line up, are pretty dang important keys! It has been a big pain to say the least of my frustration.

A funny thing happened last Thursday. On Wednesday there was a message on the whiteboard in the office of our school that everyone should report to Actos Civicos (think patriotic all school meeting) first thing in the morning. So of course at 7:10 when the kids are scrambling for their seats, I rounded them up quietly and neatly into their separate lines of boys and girls not knowing exactly where I was taking for them or for how long. We ended up on the grass in front of the flag (I must quickly stop to mention that September is the month of holidays in Honduras—many wrapped up into Independence Day—see parade picks :)). There are the usual national hymn and prayer. But then, all of a sudden the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students start coming out in costume. They (unknown to their American teachers) have prepared an elaborate play of the Independence of Honduras. Imagine the surprise, delight, and ensuing chaos when a boy rides in on a HORSE! I thought that was going to be the highlight until someone set up fireworks about 10 feet away from all the children. I’m pretty sure I threw my body in front of the second grade. Details now get a little fuzzy. The fireworks get lit and shoot every which way. I not only feared for the well being and bodily safety of the students in my care, but the people in the street that very well could have been hit by the two fireworks that rocketed over the school’s gate and divebombed in that direction. One firework actually hit the tree above the office causing smoke to billow up from what looked like the roof—also a scary thought. Boy was I glad when they stopped setting off the fireworks. My kids had a good chuckle at my horrified face. A couple of them couldn’t help but comment on my transparent fear and concern and the horrified look that apparently accompanied those feelings (believe me, they tried to imitate the face and it DID look funny). Mister Adalberto our social studies teacher did get what appear to be serious burns all over his hand due to the lighting of the stupid fireworks. He did take that day off, but don’t worry, he’s back to school and teaching.

The other night I had one of the smile bursting laughter moments when our power came back on after being out for a good amount of time. I was trying to make guacamole by candlelight—a mildly to really frustrating experience due to the fact that there were some bad spots on all of the avocados I was cutting up. I finally started using my roommate’s flashlight which I tucked under my chin to shine at the avocado—I’m sure it was quite a sight. After cutting up a few of the aguacats (short for aguacates=avocados in español) I headed for my room to grab my own flashlight. It was a hopeless case. I couldn’t see anything and tripped over everything. I went back to the kitchen where I groped around for some matches—crossing my fingers that they would be in the same place where I last saw them (which is hoping for a lot when you share a house with 5 other people!) but there were some! and I had just lit the candle when…the power came back on. It was such a wonderful feeling, but the cause of the bursting laughter was the cheers that came from the street, from the houses all around celebrating that the light had come back! One of us started to giggle at the resounding whoops and hollers from outside and it was contagious. Happy celebratory laughter filled the house.

Always flexible…because life is so comica…

(Jaime, pardon this visa story that sounds so ridiculo when written down) I don’t really have a work visa that lasts for a year. Don’t worry—I’m not being deported or anything (but if I am, I’m heading straight toward chocolate!). There are a couple ideas being worked on—several plans of action—but one in particular sounds so funny it can’t help but be shared. Working at the school, we have several instant friends—dedicated, devoted people that help us out with whatever comes up and begs for assistance. Whether sharpening our knives with a machete, picking us (or anyone affiliated with us) from the airport, bringing us coffee from the mountain, giving us butt injections of antibiotics that contain who knows what, but are used to cure anything and everything ailing the volunteer (they come in three shot series—I’m praying that I won’t ever need this), these friends are around often and watch our backs ;) Our doctor friend hooked us up with his lawyer friend who helped write a letter to the mayor of San Pedro Sula (super industrial important city in Honduras that is only 45ish minutes-1.5 hour-ish away from me—which I might refer to as “the city” occasionally). Here is the ridiculous part. His plan went a little something like this…go to the park in San Pedro Sula on Thursday September 14. The mayor will be in front of the statue in the park at approximately 8:30 am. Introduce yourself to him, shake his hand, and hand him the letter. Certainly he will then agree to donate $4000 (US) so that all the teachers have work visas. Yeah right. That was my thought. That is probably your thought. I mean, how do we even know he will be there!?! Well, it was the day before Independence Day so he was going to be there participating in some special event. And, check this out…it actually worked. He was there. He read the letter and said, “Sure thing.” He probably said something way better and intelligent and in Spanish, but with similar meaning. We haven’t seen a check yet, but that we walked past a statue and this whole thing went down is super laughable to me. What a hoot.

Which leads me to part two of be flexible because life is so super funny. We’ll discuss tomorrow whether or not we have to go to Belize…you know…THIS weekend. No problem, you know, just a little trip to Belize. Ha! That might be the better short term solution to the visa issue. Just kind of funny to think about that might be my weekend plans—and we would probably have Friday off!

So this is getting long so I should probably end this fast. But just a few more things…

We can’t recycle. It just doesn’t happen here. People have checked into it, and we just aren’t sure how it can be done. Getting people to not throw their trash in their yards, out their windows—this would be a start.

That reminds me! One of the funny moments in my classroom! A few kids brought rocks into the classroom, but remember the structure that is my room…I just confiscated them and threw them out the window as I was teaching! Probably a little different than my other teacher friends! :)

Ok, enough. Heading to bed! Goodnight!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I just want to say...

Read both new entries! :)

Independence Day Parade!

Ok, here are some pictures! Some more next time I´m here!

Eduardo--check out those missing teeth!

Julia was corn and Orlando was the Bay Islands :)

Melking representing forestry with his mother. They had matching hats! Juan Carlos in his soccer uniform. Not that we really have a soccer was so big his mom pinned the sleeves!

I love this kid! Melvin dressed up as a campesino. Those are his coffee beans his mother is strapping to his stomach :)

The littlest kids dressed up like animals and got to ride in a truck. It makes me sweat to just look at them. And there wasn´t an ambulance waiting in case someone went down due to heat stroke!


I’m laying here on my bed in my pajamas, listening to familiar music and writing without the gentle hum and breeze of the fan. This is good news folks. It means that I haven’t started sweating yet today. It makes me think (with great joy) that maybe we are heading into “winter” which people already claim we are in, or at least into a season that doesn’t include triple digit temperatures ;) I was actually slightly chilly this morning with our fan on medium, but not chilly enough to crawl out from under my sheet to turn it down or off. It did end up turning off on its own (power outage, not creepy fan) which caused me to wake up since it no longer covered the noise of the roosters, dogs, and children in the street. I lay here on my bed surrounded by pictures of people that I love and am assured also love me, and by notecards with messages reminding me of why I am here. My roommate comes in an out, getting dressed, washing her face, all the while talking to herself asking questions in a grumble incoherent to me. I used to try to answer, but she only apologizes and so I sit here and type.

I’ve been reading a lot lately. Yesterday I finished In the Time of the Butterflies, and I am stretching the Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne out as long as I can. Not only do I feel like I am learning or thinking thoughtfully about something every time I pull it out, it also starts interesting, honest conversations with my housemates about faith, grace, Christianity, and social justice.

You already know I am in love with my students. Every single one of them. The tiny beads of sweat that form and sit on the tips of their little noses by 10am, their giant new adult teeth coming in among the little baby teeth, the giant gaps where the dietes flacos have just come out, their tiny white undershirts under their dressy white uniform shirts, the small belts on the boys’ pants, the brown and white uniforms that look like we are raising up and training an unusually large Brownie girl (and boy) scout troop. I love it all.

But I would say that there is a special place in my heart for Juan Carlos. I thought it strange that last year’s teacher would leave me a note saying that minor behavioral problems could be taken care of by sitting the perpetrator next to Juan Carlos. This intrigued me and I was excited to meet this little boy. It is hard to explain. When our eyes meet I feel like there is communication that goes beyond his English or my Spanish ability. I told him that I wanted to come to his house to meet his family and he said that he would ask his parents. That day when I was walking home with Anna and Emily I was caught off guard when I heard him call my name. I turned to look at where the shout came from and saw Juan Carlos, grinning with joy to see his teacher outside of school, behind a chain link fence surrounding one of the smallest houses I have ever seen. Immediately my insides jumbled up with emotions twisting and turning from every corner. Shock and surprise that this is where my beautiful, smart Juan Carlos spends his time outside of the classroom, overwhelming love for this little boy waving to me with a grin on his face, the desire to sell everything I own to be able to ensure the basic necessities for this boy and his family. This day I met Juan Carlos’ family, his two little sisters Caren and Suelmi, ages 3 and 6, his father, Juan Carlos (who I can Mister Juan Carlos :)) and his mother Wendi who looks about my own age (though I haven’t found an appropriate time to ask) and is 7 months pregnant with little Josué (who I usually say a quick goodbye to with a reminder that he is to stay put for a few more months, but that I am excited to meet him). Later I spend time there drinking hot chocolate (still good, even when you are hot), sitting outside on one of their two plastic chairs helping Juan Carlos with his homework, translating English storybooks into Spanish for Caren and Suelmi (which is indeed as hard as it sounds—my Spanish is so rough right now), and playing duck, duck, goose (where I am frequently the sopa de frijoles—bean soup) which takes me for the first time into their house chasing little Suelmi. Not at all run down, but a simple concrete square, their house is one room with a curtain hiding a toilet in the corner. A twin bed, a crib, and a small table line the three walls respectively. I try to imagine their growing five person family sleeping here or being in here together during one of the violent thunderstorms that often blow through during the night. I get worried by the thought that Juan Carlos, my star student, might one day need to drop out of school to help his father provide for their growing family. My whole being pleads that he stay in school, attend college, and change the world.

In the Irresistible Revolution, the author Shane Claiborne reflects on a time when he attended a rally against sweatshops overseas. The organizers had not invited the typical rally speakers, but instead the kids themselves from the sweatshops to speak. Suddenly statistics had a face and poverty had become personal. I see poverty every day. The children that run around naked in the street, the ones that come to our gate to ask for food, with the hard look in their eyes that tells that life has already been difficult for them in their young age. The rusty sheet metal houses that line the road to San Pedro. The rotting teeth. But for me, it was Juan Carlos that gave poverty a face, and it has become personal.

Later Shane was speaking at a college and some students asked him how to choose which issue of social justice is the most important. He says, “The question made me cringe. Issues? These issues have faces. We’re talking not only about ideas but also about human emergencies. Don’t choose issues: choose people.” He responded, “Come play in the fire hydrants in North Philly. Fall in love with a group of people who are marginalized and suffering, and then you won’t need to worry about which cause you need to protest. Then the issues will choose you.” I can just as easily say, “Come play duck, duck, goose in Cofradia.” I chose the people, but the issues have chosen me.

But now that it has become personal and the issue has chosen me, where do I go from here? What should my response be as a person, but also as a Christian? The thought of combating world poverty is overwhelming. Think smaller Sarah, what can you do to play your part in working against poverty and creating opportunities for those that are oppressed by their socioeconomic status? I can start by pouring my energy and love into my lessons, my students, and my community. I will keep you updated as I continue to reflect on this question and the question of how what I learn from my work here in Honduras will have an effect on me and my decision for what I do next with my life. So much to think about, but for now I need to return my thoughts to fractions, predicates, and plants! This is just a little look into what has been going on in my life and in my head lately. Please keep me posted on you!