Review of our Volunteer Matthew Sly in Honduras La Ceiba Volunteering at the Public school for four weeks
1.-How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
The co-ordinator was good and looked after all the volunteers well. This was my second time here and I was familiar with the area.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
At the program: It was a bit sad but at the school a lot of the kids came from broken homes and so this was taken into account for some bad behavior but mostly the kids were well behaved and enjoyed learning a bit of English. I had some help with an interpreter and his help was invaluable. I like to draw and this helped keep the kids focused on what I was trying to teach.
At the accommodation: It was amazing how many rooms there were. The food was really good and a definite cultural experience. Everyone was mostly helpful.
About the country: I got right into the soccer and there were two local teams and games played in La Ceiba each week. Every time there is a big party or festival there is a ban on selling alcohol which is strange for us outsiders.
What were the difficult experiences?
At the program: It could be hard to motivate the children in the morning or near the end of the day. And there were some children who just refused to write or participate. But mostly all students would write or repeat the phrases for me. Having someone helping me explain what I was trying to teach was vital. It was sometimes the missing link between me pointing at what I wrote on the board and the students understanding. Also there was the independence day celebrations that ended up going for a whole week.
At the accommodation: All was good at the accommodation except there were a few people in the room behind me kept me up too many nights as they weren´t working. Just talk with the coordinator to have this solved.
The country: I always find the politics interesting in Honduras. Finding places that sell certain things was a bit difficult. In Australia I can find most things in the supermarket but in Honduras it is different. Even newspapers were hard to find or not sold where I was used to. Go to the local mall.
4- Any tips for future volunteers…
Organize laundry early as you will sweat in your clothes a lot. Bring sandals as thongs are a bit clumsy. Just wear a t-shirt and light cargo pants. Maybe also a parka of light material.
Donations: There was the national kids day while I was there and donations can be made to the children in more desperate communities.
Weather: This was like my previous trip. Very hot and sunny to begin with and then cloudier with high humidity and daily rain.
4.1-Other things volunteers should know:
a.- Learn Spanish. It´s one thing to teach English and another to be able to communicate with everyone in this country you meet. Take Spanish lessons while in country.
b.- On your weekends check out some of the nearby coastal towns like Tela and Trujillo.
c.- There are a lot of fast food places you may recognize but there are local fast food chains as well and you should try these out. Just take care of getting sick (diarrhea) if you eat out.
d.- In La Ceiba there are a lot of black outs as I think the power grid is in need of an up-grade. There is one nearly every day. There was one when I went to watch the soccer on a Saturday night.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
Teaching English in one of the public schools in La Ceiba was a great experience. I am currently working in a supermarket and this experience was different. I am thinking of maybe finding work like this in Honduras but it could be difficult. I was working for four weeks.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals and security:
The accommodation was good. The security was good also everything was looked after and the food was the best as it was a real cultural experience.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Program: Teaching English was fun and the kids usually enjoyed it. They could be a bit rowdy but I somehow managed to teach them a few things.
Country: Visiting Trujillo and going to a few soccer games.
8.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
It was good because the place where I wanted to meet up with the in-country team no longer is there.(businesses in Honduras come and go) So we had to find a new place to meet.
9 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
10 – Can you tell us how did you find or know about A Broader View?
This my second time with abroaderview. The first time I found them on-line after the Australian volunteer agency no longer organized volunteers to Honduras.