How did you find out about BECA? What did your friends and family think when you told them you were moving to Honduras?
I found out about BECA at a career fair for post grad volunteer opportunities at Saint Joseph's University. I had always wanted to travel abroad after graduation for a year and BECA was a great fit all around. My friends and family were a little worried when I told them I was moving to Honduras, especially my family. Initially they were mostly worried about my safety but overall they were very accepting of my decision.
What is your favorite place that you’ve been in Honduras?
We just went to Copan this weekend and it was beautiful! There were cobblestone streets and the ruins were amazing and so educational since there were so many sites to visit. The town of Copan was also amazing and fun. I also really enjoy living in Cofradia and the community here. Sometimes I will randomly hear “Miss Cassie!” and turn to see one of my students.
Did you have any preconceived notions about Honduras before you came down? How did those compare with what you found when you arrived here?
I thought it was going to be a smaller country but it's actually quite large with lots of places to travel to and with so many different communities, some with different languages.
How was your first day at school?
Very chaotic but very fun! I kept getting students names confused but it seemed to work out pretty well. We did an art activity where the theme for our door was the Fox in Socks and they all got to decorate their own socks to hang on the door. It was also so sweet that even just upon meeting the kids I was greeted with lots of hugs.
What is your favorite part of the day or class to teach?
I like teaching writing because it is a great way to see the kids improve and learn and their different abilities. I really like the start of the day too because they are always so excited and ready for school and they like doing fun handshakes before going into the classroom.
What is it like to teach at your school? Describe your school for someone who has never been there.
It’s an amazing school to teach at. It's a school run by the community and you can really see how the parents contribute so much. We even get rides to school by parents who see us walking.
What’s the funniest thing that a student has ever said?
Not only has "Baby Shark" been popular throughout the summer it was also a hit with my classroom. For Dia del Niño the teachers dressed up as sharks. I was grandpa shark so I had on glasses and a tie and I had several of my students come up to me and ask “Miss are you teacher shark?!” They also put their own spin on it and started singing “La tarea do-do-do do do”. (Tarea = homework)
What have your students taught you this year?
They have taught me a lot about patience and confidence.
Where can you be found on a Saturday morning?
Doing laundry or cleaning the apartment. I still get up at 5:30 or 6 in the morning because that is what I’m used to on weekdays even when I try to sleep in.
What is your favorite Honduran food?
Tajadas that are super sweet with beans, avocados and tortillas. There is an avocado tree at the school so we have an endless supply! The lunch at school is also amazing and different and delicious every day.
What is the most challenging aspect of living in Honduras?
The heat plus I’m prone to getting bit by mosquitos and there were a ton here so that adjustment was challenging. I feel like my skin has gotten used to both the heat and the mosquitos.
How would you describe the experience of working with BECA and living in Honduras for someone thinking about applying?
I would describe BECA as a great organization that is filled with volunteers who are so committed to the mission and are overall great people and friends. Any experience where you leave your family and home for a long period of time can be hard.