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Updates from Yorito

June 26, 2010

¡Buenas!

The four of us here in Yorito are about to enter into our fourth week of English classes and computer workshops. In pairs, we teach approximately fifteen classes in six different villages as well as teach other English classes at the primary school here in Yorito. We’ve been pretty busy! With our English classes, our students are all in the 9th grade and they will be graduating on July 17th. Therefore we have the freedom to teach our own lessons in those classes because most have finished their required exams with the Hi, Honduras textbooks. Working with that textbook would have been extremely difficult and discouraging. We’ve been trying to plan a supplement guide to help make the books more understandable for the teachers as none of them speak English. But because the books are littered with spelling and grammatical errors and make absolutely no sense in terms of structure, order, or basically anything, it’s a difficult task. However we hope that with some explanations and inserted grammar lessons the books completely ignore, we can help make the books intelligible. Otherwise in our classes, we go over basic verb conjugations, vocabulary, and lots of practice with pronunciation. The students are all very eager to learn and we hope to give them some tools to make learning a new language a little easier.

Apart from that, we have set up a computer lab with four brand new computers at the FIPAH office. Those that are involved in the youth CIALs are invited to come to weekly workshops where so far we have gone over parts of the computer, how to navigate, typing, and the ins-and-outs of Microsoft Word. Our students have been surprisingly diligent with the typing exercises. They are sure to keep their hands in the proper position and to use all of their fingers as we explained. Also, because we only have four computers and approximately twelve in each class, students not using a computer have been helping their classmates with their work. Many have expressed that one of their goals is to teach others about how to use computers so we’re hoping that some of our more advanced students will continue giving workshops after we leave. Next week we plan to move into Internet and learning how to perform searches and creating email accounts.

The overarching goal of the computer workshops is to increase communication between the youth CIALs because they live in many different areas, as well as to be able to share their research and information about their lives with others beyond the FIPAH family. “Para que sean buenos comunicadores,” as FIPAH director José Jiménez expressed at our first meeting. “So that they can be great communicators.” Therefore, in addition to computers, we are also incorporating some journalism and photography elements by having the students perform interviews, write reports, and sending them on photography assignments. The computer lab includes a digital camera available for the students to use as they wish. Our ultimate goal is that the students in the workshops will have enough knowledge to confidently use a computer and will want to continue using the lab and the camera. Hopefully we can work with some students to prepare them to continue giving workshops so that more can learn and the computer lab can really be put to good use. There is so much good work being done here with the youth CIALs and we hope that they can share that information and the amazing work they do with others.

Otherwise, the four of us entertain ourselves by watching tons of World Cup games. We watched Honduras bow out yesterday in a great match between Switzerland. The people here never really expected Honduras to move on past the group stages but they are proud of their team’s performance. For the remaining games, each of us has made a bracket with our predictions as to who will win and advance. Also, we are regular customers at Doña Francisca’s baleada stand. Every night we make our way to the town center for delicious flour tortillas with beans, cheese, and chismol, sort of like pico de gallo. The other day we went over to her house to try and make her famous flour tortillas. We did our best, but they didn’t compare to Doña Francisca’s. Needless to say, she can still expect to see us every night.

Next week is the local feria where there will be dancing, performances, and lots of food. Marianne, Maya, and Leslie will be coming to visit from Otoro so our team will be reunited for two short days. After that, it’s back to teaching classes. With less than a month left here, there’s still a lot to be done.

Con corazón catracha,
(the TV announcer’s favorite saying meaning “with Honduran love”)
Monica

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