Two weeks have passed since we arrived back to our home in Honduras and I was extremely happy to find it truly did feel like a homecoming. It wasn’t until we left and came back that I realised how comfortable I’ve grown here, how much a part of our host family we are and how many friends we actually have. These were all things I wanted out of being immersed in a community and Candelaria managed to deliver that without me noticing.
Another thing that happened without me noticing is that we are now six months in. These past six months have undoubtedly been some of the best of my life and I wouldn’t change them for the world. A lot of this time has been taken up by traveling during our holidays but now that we’re back in our project I’m looking forward to doing as much as we can and using the time we have left to make as a big a difference as possible.
In the three months or so that we have been outside of Candelaria it has seen some significant changes. It’s summer here which means that instead of afternoon rainstorms we just get more sun. The river now consists of various pools of still water and the roads are basically made of dust meaning an approaching car now signals a coughing fit and the need for a shower. It should start to cool down and, more importantly, rain again in May but until then it’s mid-day siestas and dust blown hair for us.
We were thrown right back into things when we arrived back, and were making torillas for baleadas barely half an hour after getting off the bus. Candelaria was also in the midst of a fería which meant for the next few days we had concerts in the park, stalls lining the streets, the coronation of the Queen of the Fería and a singing competition held literally right outside our door.
I’m not going to lie, our first week back, before our lessons started, was spent not doing very much. We did manage to force ourselves to unpack (which wasn’t actually that hard seeing as it’s a luxury we haven’t had for a few months) and do some planning for classes and the rest of the year but that was about it.
Once school started it was easy to get back into the swing of things, the hardest part being remembering that all the classes are now a year older so when I say 4th grade I probably mean the new 5th grade. Or do I? Very confusing. We had some changes to our timetable, the biggest being that we know have 4-6th grade for three lessons a week instead of four which is disappointing but despite our efforts there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it.
What we have managed to do however, is finally organise teaching some classes in the colegio. We went to a teachers meeting to introduce ourselves to everyone that works at the high school and then the next day we sat down with the deputy head to make a timetable – easy as that! Instead of watching our afternoons drag by as we try and amuse ourselves, they will now be filled with an hour and a half each of English classes with students in the last year of their studies. The way it works means we still have some spare time so we’re going to see how this goes and then possibly try and fit a few more classes in. They might as well make full use of us!
Outside of school we’ve made a few trips to the river, if it can really be called that right now, gone on a few walks up to a point on the road where you can see El Salvador and played football with Candelaria’s girls team. While we may have more friends than we realised, it’s not really an even split so we’re on a mission to find some amigas rather than all amigos!
Since being back we’ve also celebrated everybody’s favourite holiday, Valentine’s Day. In Honduras it’s called El Día del Amor y Amistad which translates to the Day of Love and Friendship. Much more inclusive and it makes me feel better about the fact that the only interested party I had to fight off was Amy wanting a selfie and the only gift I received was a highlighter from a 2nd grader. I did get cake though!