As an international volunteer arriving in Cofradia, I did have a few things which helped me get accustomed to life as a BECA volunteer. While never having stepped foot in Honduras, I had spent quite a bit of time traveling in South & Central America where I was able to participate in many short-term volunteer programs as well as learn the language to a level where I am able to confidently express myself in most situations. Even so, the beginning of my journey with BECA was a bit chaotic.
In January 2021, I was entering Honduras in the middle of the school year as well as the middle of a pandemic with the curfew still in effect. On the academic side, I took over a great class of students but a group of kids who had already had 4 separate teachers before me during that same school year. And socially, the options to go out and come in contact with the community were very limited at the time.
I was immensely lucky to be able to rely on the support of the other BECA volunteers on the ground during that time. We all got along very well and had lots of fun together despite the Covid restrictions. The fact that I got to live in the same house as my awesome admin made my job as a teacher so much easier. And one of those volunteers turned out to be my girlfriend.
As time went by, I was able to make more and more connections with the students and the community which has been a huge blessing. Now that we are teaching in-person, I’ve gotten to know the Honduran teachers at Santa Monica very well and it’s amazing to be able to teach in a place with fellow teachers who you can call your friends. I’ve taught quite a few kids at school over the past year and a half and you can tell that they are highly appreciative of their experience at school and it’s always been a joy for me to interact with them inside as well as outside the classroom.
Parents and people in the community here have been very kind and generous with me. Their warmheartedness is something that I very seldom experienced in my home country of Switzerland and am therefore very grateful for. I’ve grown to love the small town feel of Cofradia. The ability to walk everywhere while feeling safe, be it the market, the soccer field or a restaurant, is something I value immensely.
Don’t get me wrong, I highly suggest that teachers take the opportunity to travel and discover all that Honduras has to offer during their stay at BECA when the opportunities arise. But I am glad to say that I feel quite at home here in Cofradia.
My intention when coming to Honduras was to do my best to help provide kids here with an education regardless of the limitations set by the government due to the virus. I look forward to staying on for one last school year during which we will hopefully have our first relatively normal school year and be able to provide students with the education they deserve.
Antoine Masserey grew up in Switzerland speaking English with his American mother. After graduating from a bilingual high school in Germany, he went on to study Earth Sciences in Switzerland and Austria. After obtaining his Bachelor's degree, he decided he wanted to change course and went on to work in a call center and a hotel as a way to finance his travels to South America. It was in South America that he discovered his passion for volunteering and teaching which ultimately led to his decision to join BECA. Antoine loves watching and playing all kinds of different sports as well as running around Cofradía whenever a fellow teacher calls for help.