Just when they thought they had graduated, BECA’s 2014-2015 volunteer teachers find themselves back in their old University lives. Opening its doors as a 5 week a year institution, the halls of “University of BECA” welcomed its newest class of recruits just a short few weeks ago. Here at the U of BECA teachers must first become the students.
As students, the volunteers are given a few days of orientation, icebreakers, an introduction to their professors -- A million thanks to this year’s training team: Jenna, Lara, Katie, Steph and Cheryl you all rock -- a classroom binder, and a course book. Then, it’s back to school.
As newly minted freshmen the volunteers work hard to juggle the personal and academic workload of college life. Meeting new hall mates, acclimatizing to the cafeteria food, cramming in yearlong planning, and finding time to unwind with a pickup game of basketball, the BECA team has started to find their groove. Coffee in hand and backpacks full, the freshmen arrive bright and early for their long day of classes. The volunteers glide through mentor meetings, and Spanish classes, math training and pedagogical theory. When 5 o’clock rolls around and the heat of the Honduran day slowly breaks, the freshmen head back to their halls to practice work on their freshmen 15 of Baleadas and fried chicken.
As if pedagogical theory, 95 degree heat, water shortages, carb heavy diets and first day jitters weren’t enough, this year’s class has been given an extra challenge. On the precipice of their 2 week practicum and under the slow setting of the Summer Institute, the Flu has been waltzing its way around the BECA campus. Unavoidable and without prejudice, the Flu has kept the best of us in bed watching reruns of “The Price is Right” and nursing ourselves with homemade chicken noodle soup -- but not these freshmen!
At nearly 2000 miles from their sofas and families and the healing powers of chicken noodle soup – hot soup in Honduras is not quite the same – our volunteers have learned to rely on something else, each other. Sharing resources, mototaxis, dinners, phone credit, massages, and everything in between to make sure they are prepared for their first day of class despite running noses and fevers. The caring among the 2014-2015 team is as contagious as the Flu. They have realized after just two short weeks that they are already among family. Their blanket and Bob Barker aren’t back home, but resting in the next room in the form of a longtime friend just met. They will overcome, they will find success, and they will grow that deep connection that defines BECA. And, in just one short year, they will all enter into the larger family of BECA alumni. The dedication, compassion and resilience shown during their time as U of BECA freshmen will ensure that the every one of our 450+ students enjoys another year of exploration.