As with every morning, today I woke up to the cockerel cutting off what was yet again another fabulous dream. I turned over in my bed to look at the clock, and hazily the time of 4:10am slowly came into view. Thankfully I’ve gotten used to my 4 or 5am wake up calls, though still operating on something of an urban internal clock of bedtime at 11pm and sleeping until 7 or 8am, there’s definitely some effort involved in moving my body at this hour.
I throw on some hiking capris, sandals and a cowneck sweater as I quickly put on some make-up, put my hair up and run out the door for school.
I arrived in Cofradia, Honduras 4 months ago. It’s now November, and the weather here resembles an October day in the States, though every day up to this point has more or less been beach weather. The cool breeze and remnants of last night’s rainfall are a welcome relief to the heat. It’s cute seeing the kids at school all bundled up when it’s 70 degrees out. For me, this is amazing – jeans and long shirt weather. For our kindergartener’s, they all look like big pink and yellow fuzz balls with little faces and hands sticking out.
Not going to lie, the past few months have been hard. I left my job at Weber Shandwick, a public relations firm in Washington, DC back in May, where I had a set career path in front of me and a really great job as an account supervisor working with nonprofits. I had worked at the firm for three years and was learning a ton. However, sitting in DC, I felt I needed something different. I was also to a point where if I didn’t explore this itch to work overseas and learn a new language and culture, I might never do it. I’ve traveled a fair amount, and studied overseas, though the thought of living abroad and exploring the field of international development had always tickled my curiosity. I made the decision to venture off and try something new.
I am the program administrator for an organization called Bilingual Education for Central America (BECA), a nonprofit doing amazing work, here, in Honduras (I say that with every bias in the world, but it’s also true). As a support for our 16 American teachers with 1 Irishman and 1 Canadian in tow, I oversee the teachers, provide administrative and disciplinary support at the school, as well as run the school’s scholarship program, of which 35% of our 260 students participate.
My daily life now is about as random as it comes. My days consist of 5am rooster calls, school yard fights, ‘The Moose Song,’ and random salsa break-out parties, while navigating the terrain of school administration and small town politics, and holding ongoing conversations with families about what keeps them up at night. I should also mention that up until a week ago, my office housed a couple wheelbarrows and machetes. (More on those later).
This whole experience has been this odd mix of amazing, beautiful, and wonderful, though also gut-wrenching and soul-bearing. An encounter with the raw reality of people’s lives and my own exploration of the fight families undertake daily. I’m trying to figure out for myself where the lines of responsibility for that fight lie, as well as how I sift through my own experience in a place where the language, culture and lifestyle are foreign. And the 4am rooster calls are only the beginning…