Monday, October 15, 2012

"Hell week"

Long story short, due to some circumstances I have to teach materials from 5 weeks into three days, It's going to be much more of a "hell week" for my students than for me.

On another note: Our time here is almost done. (The flight is booked). I'm trying to prepare myself to leave but the more I think about it the more I realize how much I love my students. :/

Check this video out:
Stonehill Honduras

Friday, July 13, 2012


We only have four more months here, which may sound like a lot but considering how fast time goes by here I know it might feel like two weeks. Already this place has changed me in so many ways. I truly wish I were able to come back for another year but loans are holding me back.

One of the best things that has happened is having my mom come down to visit. For those who don’t know, she wasn’t very fond of me coming to Honduras. At first she was completely against it but once she realized that I was going to do it regardless of what she thought she started to slowly accept it. I still remember how hard it was to come here while my whole family was against it. As soon as my mother came into the center she was overwhelmed with the hugs and letters from all the students. She instantly fell in love and a few days later she apologized for telling me that this would be a waste of a year. That’s when I said, “BOOM!” This gave me one of my most “satisfactory moments” of my life, sometimes parents CAN be wrong.

I think she was able to feel a little of what you sometimes feel when volunteering. After sharing with her some background stories of my students, she realized that she might be able to give helpful advice. Coming here she thought that she wouldn’t be much help because she only has a six-grade (Mexican) education and cleans houses for a living. After talking to some of them she realized that they needed some motivation, inspiration, and some awakening. She shared her life story especially how much she struggled to give my brother and I the best education, in hopes that my students would realize the effort and sacrifice that their parents make to have them in this school. It was good to have them hear this from her because the common perception here is that everyone in the states is rich and has an easy life.

I want to take this opportunity to ask for some donations. We’re asking for books! We have many bright students that love to read but unfortunately our book collection is very limited and access to good books in Honduras is extremely difficult. We all know how much reading helps and also how enjoyable it is, so please help my students get the same opportunity! Thank you soo much, to all those that have already donated.

Here is the link to the Amazon account in which shows the books that could be purchased and where to ship them. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Almost two months

The weeks have gone by extremely fast, and weekends go by even faster.  Thankfully, I haven’t gotten sick yet. Last weekend I had the luxury to work with a volunteer group from Lexington, MA. I worked at the farm with them from Friday-Sunday building a shed. Its always refreshing to work with the volunteer groups that come down because they remind me of why I’m here. They remind me of how lucky I am to have this opportunity, and after some long long weeks of teaching it’s sometimes very needed to have that reminder. Speaking of groups, I’m beyond excited to see some familiar faces from Stonehill this weekend, it feels like I’m having family coming to visit.

There are some days when I stop and think about how much I miss my Stonehill life, “damnn did I have it good”.  Yes there were some intense stressful moments when I would curse-out Stonehill every chance I could, but it was mostly my fault for procrastinating and leaving everything for the last minute. Somedays I think about how much I had, not in terms of material stuff but of how much access to learning opportunities I had- if that makes any sense. I could’ve easily gone to a professor just to chat about politics, easy access to the New York Times, internet 24/7, a decent selection of books at the library, guest speakers, workshops, clubs, internships and much more that Stonehill offered. My advice to all current students is to take advantage of all those opportunities. Sometimes it may seem impossible to “waste” an hour or two out of your “crammed” day, but the gained knowledge is very well worth it. My other advice is to take advantage of the PARTY aspect of college. Partying in college and partying in real life are very distinct. Party as much as you can while also maintaining a good GPA, a skill that you should’ve developed freshmen year.

Teaching takes a lot of preparation-which takes a lot of time- a lot time that I don’t really have. I feel like I prepare the minimum for each class, which has been working, but I wish I had the time to over-prepare for each class. The girls had their exams this past week. I felt very confident that they were well prepared for it, but their grades weren’t that great. It’s really hard for me to fail my students especially because I know that they all could’ve easily passed.  Many of them made easy errors, which cost them a lot of points. Even though I tell them to read each question carefully, they still rush through the questions and don’t review their answers. It also doesn’t help that the test was very very poorly written.

Classroom management has been a major problem for me recently. I’ve made the mistake to step over the line between teacher and friend. Being at the school for about 13hrs a day definitely allows to have a close bond with the students. The first action I took was to put my foot down and talk with the class and re-set some rules.  I also told them that I wanted to speak with each of their parents. So far I’ve meet with more than half of their parents. Some of the parents were really shy and would just nod their heads, while others were really interested to find out how their daughters were doing. Overall it went pretty well because the students now know that I could talk to their parents if there’s ever any issues.

working at the farm

Monday, February 13, 2012

One Month Down

By now I’m beginning to get into a good routine. I go to bed at 9pm wake up at 5am, have my first cup of coffee, prepare for classes, eat breakfast, have second cup of coffee and head to the center at 7.

Teaching: So far I’ve given 3 quizzes and my class has Bombed all three. Many of my students have the mentality that it doesn’t matter if they fail or pass because they are used to just being passed to the next grade regardless of their grades. The majority of my class cant do simple math such as adding or multiplying. They can’t even spell some simple words in Spanish such as ciencias (Science). My biggest struggle is motivating and preparing them for the upcoming test (given by the Iher Program- not me). It’s hard to move on with the material, especially in math, when I have to stop and explain stuff they were supposed to have learned in 4th or 5th grade.  As of right now I’m trying to find different approaches on how to get them to learn. 

Synopsis on teaching: Its wayyy easier to be a student than to be a teacher.

I’m beginning to miss some things from home like picking up my sister from school, my mom’s food, shot -gunning a beer with my friends, and washing machines. Doing laundry by hand has led me to conclude that washing machines rule! 

Here are some pictures of my class' first time at the farm: 

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Eventhough there were many other great things this week all I can say right now is:

 Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!!  Los Gigantes!!!!
 Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!! 
Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!! Los Gigantes!!!!

 Thank you FoxSports Honduras for televising the game

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Week 2

One word that summarizes this week is: preparation. Classes for my grade (ciclo 1= equivalent to 7th grade) begins on Wednesday, but for the first few days we’ll just be doing some housekeeping stuff such as introductions, expectations, rules, syllabus and all that good stuff, all which takes a lot of time to prepare for. For the next few days I will be preparing my lesson plans. The one downside in all this is that the textbooks (for lack of a better term) suck. But even worst is that we have to stick with the textbooks because the students will be given a test every month on specific material from the books. I’ve never really thought of how important textbooks are until now. Now I regret all the things I scribbled in my grade school textbooks.
-This week it was made official: I’m going to be teaching soccer!!! For those who really know me, know that soccer is my life. I’m really excited to coach because from what I hear, the girls actually like to play soccer, which makes a major difference.

One of the very first things that came to mind when I accepted the program was that I wouldn’t be in the U.S for the elections. For us (political science majors), watching the elections is like watching the super bowl for football fanatics. I was a bit sad about this but that’s when I decided that I would make it a mission to learn as much as I could about the politics in Honduras. So I began to ask a few random people, but they just gave me a general response, like “its all a big mess”. A few days ago I asked one of the other tutors, Andrea, and she gave a great summary of the current politics. She knew so much about it because of her uncle who was closely involved with President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 during the golpe de estado (Coup d'état). This Saturday I had the luxury to meet him and hear his point of view on the current situation. I am soo happy to have found a Honduran that is as passionate about politics as I am. This one-hour conversation opened up my eyes and explained soo many things about the Honduran culture.

On Wednesday we went to the Basilica de La Virgen de Suyapa in Tegucigalpa. Here are some pictures:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week one

I haven’t posted anything since I’ve gotten here because I’ve been busy trying to get adjusted to my Catracho/Honduran lifestyle. Life here has been great so far. The weather is amazing, some sun-some nice breeze. As a group we have been great, I feel like I've lived with Matt and Christina for years. We've cooked some great Italian, American, and Mexican dinners, best combo ever. We’ve been spending a lot of time at the CMP (The Marie Poussepin Center) trying to prepare for the start of the semester. Last Monday we had something similar to a parent-teacher meeting which was exciting. 

-On Saturday we went to the finca (farm) and worked on building a greenhouse, which wasn't easy but definitely alot of fun and a great learning experience. That afternoon we worked on making a little garden in our yard, which was NOT easy. I now have alot of respect for all the farmers out there. 

Christina's face says it all lol

 -Sunday was GTL (gym-tan-laundry) Day. Since we don't have washing machines here we have to wash our cloths by hand on the pila outside. So I was working out by washing my cloths while standing in the sun. The REAL GTL!!
Also the GIANTS WON!!!! yeahh buddyyyy!!!!!!

- Today I finally got my schedule and classes that I will be teaching. I have a class of 11 seventh graders and I will be teaching science, math, technology, and spanish. I got really scared when I opened up the math textbook and realized how much simple math I don't remember. I have alot alot!! of preparing to do before classes officially start next week. I'm pretty overwhelmed with all this but its no big deal because I graduated from Stonehill, at least that's what I keep telling myself lol This is light work for the kid.

 Overall, it was a great week these were just some of the highlights. I will try my best to keep posting as much as I can, just bare with me because blogging is new for me and I apologize for any grammatical and spelling errors and random Bronx slang or just words or phrases that I have made up- I've had enough of worrying about that in college.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Orientation Day 3:

Today was just another solid day of orientation, but nothing stands out more than seeing Liza and Jacky (Liza Talusan is the Director of Intercultural Affairs at Stonehill College and Jacqueline Guzman is the Assistant Director). Liza has been a major influence and role model since my freshmen year of college. Seeing her today made me realize how far I've come in life. A few years ago I would have never imagined that I would have gone to college and graduated, a year ago I would have never imagined that I would be doing a year of service in Honduras. Jacky provided great support and encouragement during the process of deciding whether or not to go with the program, especially because she had gone through some of the same issues I was going through. Seeing them today just gave me that final push of encouragement that I needed.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Orientation Day 1

Today I arrived on campus with my parents for the first day of orientation. I’m glad that they were able to take part because for the first time they were able to meet the great people whom I will be spending the year with.  They were also able to hear the great experiences from the returning volunteers, which definitely made a huge impact, especially after all the “danger” concerns. Most importantly, the parent orientation gave me what I had been looking for all these months, which was my mothers’ 100% approval. I think she finally realized why I wanted to do this after meeting and talking with all the loving-great people that are involved in the program. I finally felt at peace and more than ever ready to go.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I’m usually the type of person that is against anything that has to do with blogging, but I’ve decided to go against that for the purpose of this yearlong journey. For those who are clueless: (Long story short) I will be doing a year of service in Guaimaca, Honduras alongside Matthew Rigby and Christina Martone. To learn more about the mission visit the Facebook page: