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Two Good Reasons By Emily McCourt
August 12, 2014

It’s been a week today since I left Canada, and it has been a week packed with new experiences; some strange, many of them fun, all of them educational. I’m splitting this entry into two posts, mainly because it’s about two different days but also because it would be a very long post otherwise (your poor eyes!). Hopefully the lessons that have come my way may be of some value to you as well.

Yesterday was the first ‘real’ orientation day, by which I mean we had meetings and talked about teacher things, and did not have local Honduran food (but I DID try lychees, which look like spiky/ hairy strawberries but are opened to reveal a sweet and fleshy white fruit with a pit.)

The main presentation was led by a lady who sounded very qualified and proceeded to teach the whole staff about different learning styles, in order that we might be able to sufficiently reach all the children in our classes. More importantly, she talked at length about how much of an impact that we as teachers (in any area of the world) can have on a child’s life. We are not there to hand out information and wish them luck, we are put in this position to nurture their God-given gifts and encourage them, and maybe even transform their lives too. We are all created to be different not so that we can stand alone, but so that we can work together and accomplish even greater things!
Following lunch (Tamales and Honduran coffee!) we broke off into our respective language program groups. There are about 10 English staff members including myself, a mix of mostly Americans, a couple of Hondurans with excellent English, and myself. Here, the English program coordinator shared with us the mission of the school and the purpose of the English program, which I will share here for you:

Mission (and goals) of the school (why are we here?):
1. Support of other ministries in town – I didn't realize this, but many of the children that attend CEE have parents that work in churches or other missions around town. By working at the school, we are supporting these families as well as other ministries in Siguatepeque.
2. Transformation – As teachers, we are in a position to transform not only our students’ lives, but also our own and the community around us (more on that later).
3. To form leaders in both the church and in the country – By giving a Christian education to the kids in Sigua, they may choose to become involved in the local church or go on to lead their country in some fashion. And who knows, it may be that some choose to become missionaries themselves!
4. Don’t forget the poor – The school is tuition-based, but it does offer scholarships (incl. partial ones). While most of the student body is middle class, it is open to all and through scholarships we are able to give more children an education.
5. Bring pride to being Honduran – Honduran culture does not think highly of itself. Let’s change that!

Why is there an English Program?:
1. Learning English gives the students more opportunity and it is the global language.
2. CEE desires that its students keep an open mind about other cultures. By having English-speaking teachers, the kids are exposed to ways of life and thinking that they might not interact with otherwise. Not to say that one is better than the other (but more on that later too!).
3. If students are interested in missions, knowing English opens doors.
4. To have students learn to write and speak English well.
There you have it- this is what the school aims to do and why half of its program for all grades is in English.
For those of you who have not been to Honduras, which includes most people reading this: it is a very different way of living here, ESPECIALLY to North Americans. Time is very fluid. It is not uncommon to have an event scheduled for 5 pm and actually start between 5:30 and 6:00. To chronic list-makers and time-watchers like myself, this can be very frustrating. You can either let it get to you, or go with the flow. And learning to let go has been more like putting down a heavy burden than putting up with a constantly-late friend. As a guest here, I should learn to embrace Honduran culture, not seek to change it. It is not wrong, or better than back home. Just different, and I think both cultures could do to learn from each other. This is part of the reason we want to encourage the students here and be a light to them. It may be that God will lead some to be missionaries to North America. And I think that would be like a breath of fresh air.

Okay, so I was wrong. This post is more like Part 1, section II, because I know how it is when you’re looking for a short read that turns into an essay. Go get yourself a coffee, have a stretch, walk around the block.

Ready? Good.
Our meeting that day was cut short by an event that my host mom later referred to as The Energy Crisis. As it turns out, Honduras is supposed to be in the middle of its rainy season. Well, it’s not really raining at all, and when it does it’s not for very long. So this means that it’s quite hot here, and the power here (which is generated using hydraulics, I think) is not being generated. Thus, the government has decided that, starting this day, they were going to shut off the power nation-wide for four hours a day, at a random start time and without warning. And it so happened the power went out as the English coordinator was demonstrating how we would access the year’s curriculum, on our laptops, which requires both electricity and wi-fi. With the power out, we couldn't exactly get much done and thus headed home shortly after. The short version of the rest of the day is that it actually started raining like crazy and my housemate and I just sat in our dark little apartment with nothing but a wee stick of a candle providing light. This situation sounds so odd to our North American ears, indeed if this were to happen, people would be angry and talking about their rights, I’m sure. Yet here we were, listening to the rain, and eventually having a great conversation about how we ended up teaching at CEE and what God seemed to be doing in our lives.

You see, each of us teachers here feels that God allowed us to be here for a reason. We don’t know what it is, but we all come from different walks in life, with different issues going on, different pasts and different hopes and dreams. I have no doubt there’s a reason I ended up with the housemate I did, or the host-mom we did, or with this job for that matter. What those reasons are, I’m not sure yet. But I do hope you’ll keep checking back as I keep trucking on. Who knows, maybe we’ll learn to shine a little brighter in the sudden dark spots we encounter.

Prayer stuff: I’m very thankful for the situation I ended up with here. I don’t think it's been mentioned yet, but the particular apartment I have is on the nicer end of possible accommodations, which is not something I expected. I am in a safe place in one of the most peaceful parts of Honduras, and I have been able to eat plentifully, and of things I am not allergic to. I am also thankful for some things back home which I had been taking for granted, like the ability to talk whenever I wanted. There is a difference between being quiet because you want to, and being quiet because you can’t communicate sufficiently! I also miss the taste of cold water. You know, that stuff you can drink freely from your taps? You can’t do that here. Yes, there is water to drink, but there are big hefty bottles of it, and are only cold when purchased. You learn to treasure something that seems silly and simple in Canada or the USA. But you know what, life here is beautiful in its own way, and I’m learning to appreciate that more and more each day. And I hope that at the end of all this, I come back home not as a product of either Canadian, American or Honduran culture, but at least a little bit closer to being the individual that God intended me to be.


About Me

Emily pic

Emily is a long-time attender at Westney.
She is passionate about art and teaching.
Please use these blogs to help keep her in your prayers.
Stay tuned for more about her journey...

Filed under: Missions Blog


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