The walk to school every morning takes about 15 minutes. We are in training from 8:30- 4:30 (an attempt to cram the necessary information from a Masters teaching credential program into four weeks of instruction), so the morning walk is a great time for me to process all of the new information I am exposed to. I think about new techniques that I learned from the day before and try to figure out ways to incorporate the techniques into the lesson plans I am creating.
Along the route, I pass the houses of children that go to our school. Parents of the schoolchildren smile and wave and say “Hola Mister!” There is a 70 year old French man that is a neighbor of my host family that I have walked by the past three days in a row. Every day, he sits shirtless in the town square in a wheel chair and, being very proud that he speaks English, cries out to me like clockwork,” Hey man, whats up!” When I first met him, I thought he was homeless, but it turns out that he owns most of the stores on our block.
The volunteers for the school have a great reputation for the positive things that they have brought to the community and while the gringos clearly stick out when walking through town, most people have overwhelmingly positive views of us being here. Their welcoming spirit is one that I am not used to and due to my constant fear when I am traveling that someone is trying to take advantage of me, it sometimes catches me offgaurd. It is a complete mental shift for me to realize that I am not traveling.
The dirt road that I walk down weaves past a closed-down cigar factory (apparently one that employed many in the town and closed last year). Just after the cigar factory I take a right on a narrower dirt path that leads through a functioning pineapple juice factory and a chicken farm. The sweet caramel aroma from the factory intermingles with the sour smell of chicken excrement. This noxious combination is one that is uniquely Honduran.
I continue on through the property of one of the richest men in town, a man from what I can tell fronted a lot of money (if not all?) for the building of the San Jeronimo school. I wave to his guard, armed with a shotgun and arrive at school.