Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Draw Me a Map

I have decided what I am going to do with my month vacation at the end of May.  I will have to leave before the 25th of May due to my visa situation.  I got to Honduras January 25th.  After three months here, I renewed my visa for the maximum amount of time, which was just one month, until I could get out of the country to get stamped again.  Classes don’t end until Friday the 27th, but I will need to leave a couple days before that so I don’t get fined when I exit.  We will be giving exams that week, so I will have to give my exams a little early. 

I plan on catching a bus in Tegucigalpa to Managua, Nicaragua.  I will stay a night in Nicaragua and make my way to Costa Rica after that.  I will need to stay at least 3 days before returning.  The reason for the three days has something to do with the C-4 agreement, which is a trade agreement between Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.  You can pretty much pass freely through the borders of those countries with no problem.  In order to get my passport stamped, I need to go to a country outside the C-4 agreement and wait 3 days.  I know what you are thinking, how painful that I have to spend a whole three days on a Costa Rican beach waiting to get back into Nicaragua legally. 

Unfortunately, I plan to be on a pretty tight schedule and I don’t plan to spend much more than three days in Costa Rica.  After Costa Rica I am going to pass back through Nicaragua and possibly stay a night on the Pacific Coast.  The reason I am not spending much time in Costa Rica is because I am headed back to Guatemala to do some volunteering. 

I talked to the owner of Roots and Wings International and let him know that I have a long break during June.  He said he would love to have me come to the compound and volunteer.  The project is located in Pasac, which is a small town near Quetzaltenango in the Guatemalan highlands.  I will be writing about my experiences in the compound and helping produce some content for their website to promote eco-tourism and volunteer service in the village.  I am extremely excited to head back to Guatemala.  I like going back to places that I haven’t been in a while.  It is an opportunity to sink your teeth into not only how much the area has changed, but how much you have changed since you have last been there.

I thought the students were getting it too easy this semester so I made a packet of study materials for both my classes that were 8 pages long.  The students need to learn all eight pages packed full of information before the exam.  The 6th graders are definitely ready for more material, but the 4th grade seems to be stuck in some weird transition period between being babied and actually receiving legitimate English classes.  Some days the kids are attentive and can absorb difficult English material and some days all I can get them to do is color in a coloring book.  I have already seen them grow up so much, but they are nowhere near the maturity of the current 5th graders.  A lot of growing can happen from now until the beginning of a new school year.

I opened a bank account in Juticalpa today.  It was interesting to see what their process was like.  It was pretty much the same as in the U.S. only there was something a little different about the address part.  She asked us our address, but there really aren’t addresses in our town.  The houses are known by who lives there.  If a person doesn’t have an address, they are required to draw a map to their house.  So each of us had a blank sheet of paper and had to draw a rough map on the city explaining which house was ours.  I guess in case we tried anything funny with our account they would follow the map to our house to collect. 

Stay tuned for pictures of Mother’s Day…

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