The week we spent in La Ceiba was a surprise to me, to say the least. Our life so far has been on the move all the time and every day was jam packed with novelties and exotic places, getting constantly excited wasn’t hard at all.
The prospective of a week in a small town not extremely pretty, having a “work and study” schedule which resembled our normal life wasn’t particularly exciting.
It turned out, at least for me, to be a very rewarding week, which went by way too fast.
First of all, having a routine wasn’t that boring after all. Unpacking our backpacks, not spending hours on buses, sleeping in the same bed every night, eating meals at the same time are little details that one appreciates more after travelling no stop for 3 weeks.
Being hosted by local families was what made our stay quite special. Our host Denise was like a Mom to us, cooking delicious meals every day, caring to provide some variety to the table, teaching us about the local cuisine, introducing us to her extended family, lodgers and neighbors. As every family, the little crazy details are what makes them unique: from accidentally serving chicken to our vegetarian friends to introducing us to overdramatic south American soap operas, from gossiping about her sons’ girlfriends to bossing me around like only real mothers do while I was cooking Italian pizza for our last dinner together.
The real surprise of the week though was the experience at the local school where we spent each morning teaching English to teenagers from 13 to 18 years old. We had no idea how to approach this, none of us is a teacher, most of us don’t speak Spanish, and we had no books or any guidance on how to do this.
That’s when we got creative, joining forces in our teams and came up each day with a solid 3 hour-long class which were a mix of games, theory, board writing, drawing (thank God Honour has art skills which are far better than my “primary school” drawing style!), charades, vocabulary and plenty of laughter.
We lost some students after the first day, as expected, but the core of the class who showed up enthusiastically each morning was surprisingly committed, extremely fun to work with and by the end of the week some of the knowledge was retained, biggest success for a teacher I suppose!
They surprised us (and brought a tiny bit of tears to my eyes I admit) when they gave us on the last day a massive thank you paper, written in a very basic (and as wrong as Google translator can be!) English but with a sweetness and kindness that deserved an A+.
I am not sure I can actually provide them with a VISA to enter Italy as they asked me to (!) but I will for sure remember them with a big smile when I am home.
By Sylvia Pontini - Central America Trail Volunteer
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