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Final Weeks

July 8, 2010

The clock is ticking for us here in Yorito. With a little over two weeks left on site, we’re moving into the Internet in our computer workshops, practicing dialogues in our English classes, and working on guides and manuals to leave behind once we leave. There’s still so much to be done and so much still to see we can’t believe the time has flown by so fast!

Since we last updated, our team reunited last week for the first time since May during the Feria here in Yorito. It was a beautiful day full of music, food, and dancing. FIPAH had a Seed Fair where adult CIALs from all over the region displayed and sold their home-grown produce. Each CIAL brought a slice of biodiversity from their community. Starting at 7 a.m., people began laying out their trays of seeds, fruits, vegetables, leaves, and roots. It was really interesting to see so many varieties of vegetables and the things the CIALs made with them. Most interestingly – soy cookies and soy sausage. Both surprisingly delicious! We spent the afternoon watching some soccer and then went on a quick hike up a mountain that looks over all of Yorito. With so much activity going on that day, it was really cool to see the town from above. That night we watched the annual coronation of the town queen and headed to the Salon de Baile for some dancing. We can’t lie; it was rather awkward at first. But after getting over our initial embarrassment, we all got up, headed to the middle of the floor and helped start the party! This was almost two weeks ago and people still like to bring it up in conversation. Maybe we made fools of ourselves or maybe we were exceptionally good dancers…we have no idea.

Next week will be our last week with our English classes as they will all graduate on Saturday the 17th. They’re all done with all of their classes and exams so we really appreciate their efforts in continuing coming to class. We’ve mostly gone over basic questions and answers like “How are you?” and “What do you like to do?” and made vocabulary lists with emotions, activities, foods, and other subjects. Some classes are rather advanced and can create and manipulate conversations using pronouns and difficult vocabulary. In others, we’re still reviewing the alphabet. It’s been a bit of a challenge having to adjust to different paces and different ways of learning. But overall, our students remain motivated to learn English. Next week we’ll be doing some singing and teaching each class a popular English song.

We’ve experienced a similar situation in our computer classes. Some have a good bit of computer experience and are able to navigate easily. With others, using the mouse and finding letters on the keyboard is still a challenge. Nonetheless, we adjust and take each class one at a time. This past week we’ve been doing photography: how to use a digital camera, the uses and aesthetics of a photo, and going on picture-taking scavenger hunts that have produced some pretty awesome results. We would upload some, but the Internet connection simply won’t have it. The students have had fun with the cameras. Even the most timid students cracked a smile when asked to jump for an action photo required in the scavenger hunt. It’s really great to see them more comfortable and willing to be more open. It can be a struggle to get some students to even speak in class but many have found excitement and ease with taking pictures.

As graduation approaches, we’ve been asking our students about their future plans. Many say they want to keep studying and hope they can continue school a distancia or by correspondence. Unfortunately most will be unable to do so because of difficulties with transportation and money. Others have expressed interest in heading north to the States and finding work. We’ve had some interesting conversations with people about the US and the difficulties in getting there. “Why is it so hard to get into your country?” they’ve asked and almost everyone mentions their many relatives currently working there. Some of the younger boys that sell food at the bus stop like to joke about sneaking back with us and laugh at the idea of hiding in our suitcases. But the reality is that many people they know have made the painful journey through Mexico under unspeakable conditions. We’ve been reminded of this scary reality this week right here in Yorito. Three boys from Yorito between the ages of seventeen and twenty were kidnapped in Mexico while travelling north by a gang and are being held ransom for $2,000 per person. For their families, this means selling absolutely everything, homes and belongings, to try and meet the price and be reunited with their sons. Hearing these stories reminds us that despite these risks, hundreds still make the journey everyday. The other day one of the FIPAH staffers was encouraging some students to find opportunities here in their home country, to keep studying, and to stay. Hearing frequent stories about emigration reminds us of how important FIPAHs work is here. FIPAH offers many vocational workshops to youth, trying to create local opportunities for these students, in addition to the agricultural education offered to youth through the CIALs. FIPAH tries to instill an appreciation for the land, the produce, and most importantly the people they work with. For many this won’t be enough, but hopefully some will be encouraged to stay and find opportunities here in Honduras.

On the agenda for the next two weeks: a visit to Otoro to meet up with Maya, Leslie, and Marianne, making pupusas, a dance party in La Sabana with one of our groups of students, WORLD CUP FINAL, making lots of guides, the Yorito premiere of Saving the Seed, and graduation! We’ll be here until the 24th before heading back to La Ceiba for a few days and returning to the US the 28th. Time has flown by and we unfortunately know the next few weeks will only fly faster.

Con mucho cariño,

Monica, Anna, Caitlin, and Sarah

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