Honduras 2014 – 2015

Welcome to York House School’s Honduras Blog!

Within the York House community, we provide various platforms through which students could connect with other children and youth from around the world, including Honduras and Guatemala. Specifically, the upcoming Spanish/Service trip to Honduras is a special opportunity for YHS senior students from grades 10-12 to participate in a community-development project in cooperation with an organization and home for at risk youth in Honduras named El Hogar.

elhogar-logo-site

With the mission to “transform and empower abandoned and hopelessly poor children in Honduras by providing a loving home and education,” El Hogar has made tremendous progress in fulfilling their goal of “planting the seeds of hope for a new, more prosperous Honduras.” This lovely home for more than 100 young Hondurans is where our Yorkies will travel to this April, with the goals of teaching in the classrooms and helping underprivileged young children realize their potentials through student-led workshops.

If you are interested in hearing more about the upcoming service trip to Honduras in April, then follow our blog to receive updates regarding details about the trip!


Information about our upcoming trip to Honduras! 

When is the trip?

Our service trip to Honduras will take place from April 4th to 11th, 2015!

Where is the destination?

The destination of our trip is a home and school named El Hogar, which is situated in the capital of Honduras – Tegucigalpa.

honduras-flag

Who is going on the trip?

We have three adult chaperons on the trip, including Sra. Marte, Madame Forte and Ms. Kelly Van Unen!

There are a total of ten YHS students going on the trip from the grades 10-12 and they are:

Megan Steeves, Gina Cai, Alicia Zhou, Nicole Terry, Bridget Chia, Maggie Coval, Marysa Ho, Brianna Lee, Jenna Thompson, and Lucy Song.

What is the mission of the trip? IMG_6700-1024x505

Our main goal for this Spanish/Service trip to El Hogar, Honduras is to promote literacy development, community development and long-term connections between El Hogar and York House.

Why do the students want to participate on this trip?

This service trip to Honduras is an opportunity to see a part of the world that is vastly different from our own, allowing us to get a sense of how the majority of humankind lives. We want to have our eyes, minds and hearts opened by helping orphaned and underprivileged young children realize their potentials through student-led workshops and teaching in the classrooms. This valuable experience will allow YHS students to witness how our individual efforts contribute to the children’s overall transformations.

tegucigalpa-honduras

 


Honduras Trip Reflection

By: Gina Cai

On a cool early Saturday morning in April 2015, a group of 10 Yorkies and 3 chaperones ‒ Señora Marte, Madame Forte and Ms. Kelly Van Unen ‒ embarked on a journey to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The final destination of our service trip was El Hogar ‒ a home and school for at-risk and homeless children and youth from ages 6 to 15. For some of us, this was the first time traveling to a developing country, but ultimately, we welcomed the new experience by eagerly exploring the local Honduran culture. In addition, through participating in literacy development, project work like painting, and hosting student-led workshops, we were driven by the common goal of helping underprivileged children realize their potentials.

 

After a tiring day of travel filled with stressful flight connections, the bright smiles and bear hugs waiting for us overwhelmed us with love and rejuvenated our travel-weary spirits. The children at El Hogar were not only full of energy, they were also a curious bunch, asking for our names, where we came from, and when we could play with them; some observant students even asked about the filter tube in my giant thermos bottle. Their eagerness to get to know us better was their special way of inviting us into their big family.

 

Following this warm welcome, we hopped into a van to Santa Lucia, 20km outside the capital city, where we had the opportunity to bond with around forty girls from the young ages of 6 to 18 who are current students and graduates of El Hogar. Over the Easter long weekend, the younger girls went to live with the older graduates at the El Hogar dormitory in Santa Lucia, while the boys stayed at the main home and campus in the capital city. After the girls graduate from El Hogar, they are financially supported to attend a local private school. Shortly after our arrival, our laughter and stories filled the dorm as we cooked, danced, and sung together. We ended our rewarding first day in Honduras with a communal dance celebration.

 

Before the trip, we had only heard of the poverty-stricken and often harsh living circumstances that the girls and boys of El Hogar came from, including suffering sexual abuse from family members and burdens from taking care of handicapped parents. When we interacted with the girls at their home on the first day, we were amazed by their infectious happiness and unbreakable sisterhood. However, we were inspired on a different level when we visited Virginia Sapp, a local private school, and watched the older girls integrate into a brand new environment compared to El Hogar’s to achieve academic success independently. When we asked the girls about their thoughts on their futures, they weren’t afraid of telling us about their ambitious goals of becoming doctors, lawyers and leaders in their fields. After touring the campus of Virginia Sapp and interacting with the girls and the other students at the school, we left feeling optimistic about the prestigious education these young girls are able to receive and were sincerely proud of their active choice to make the best of their opportunities and pave their own ways to actualize their promising futures.

 

When we were back at El Hogar for the rest of the week, we became very immersed in the loving and hopeful environment that the children and staff created. El Hogar holds true to its name, which means “the home” in Spanish, for it quickly became our home despite the fact that we were in a foreign land. Never before have I dared to trust and love others as freely as I did with the children at El Hogar. To the children, we were not mere strangers; they knew that we had chosen to dedicate some time in our lives to be there with them and teach them and love them. In return for the time and effort that we offered to them, they expressed their sincere gratitude by opening their hearts to us, without any hint of judgement or reservation.

 

One of my favorite teaching moments throughout the week was the special music lesson that I gave to Gabriel. As a passionate pianist, Gabriel seized the rare opportunity to play the piano (the children don’t usually have access to the musical equipment). Without hesitation, Gabriel dedicated 100% of his attention to me while I taught him new songs. When I congratulated him on his natural talent for music, I saw one of the most humble and happy smiles from his heart. It was one of the rare moments when I could literally see the bursting potential in someone. Despite the dusty and half-broken piano keys, Gabriel was determined to master the songs.

 

In my remaining classes later that day, I saw Gabriel’s unswerving determination in the other children as well: when they were working on high level math problems, practicing the fundamental values of academic integrity, conducting eloquent interviews as journalists for a day or trying to read a story in one breath. The level of understanding and maturity displayed among the children reaffirmed the reason I was at El Hogar ‒ to be a role model for the children and encourage their individual pursuits to become future leaders of their community, state or nation.

 

The trip was full of surprises, as none of us had expected the number of “firsts” that we would experience throughout the week. Some of us attended our first church service ever at a Spanish church, while others got their first tastes of “Honduran nachos,” an appetizer made with delicious cheese and refried beans. In addition, we also painted an entire building that housed the arts classroom, visited a very poor home where one of the students came from situated on a construction site, and made over 100 friends within a week.

 

We had left for Honduras hoping to empower these young children through literacy development and student workshops; however, in reality, the impact that the children made on us took on unexpected proportions in a way that changed all of us for the better. We strived to create small changes, one at a time, within each child, and we witnessed some inspiring transformations, especially within the new students at El Hogar. For example, a fourteen-year-old boy named Juan Pablo along with his eight-year-old and six-year-old sisters had just arrived at El Hogar two weeks before we did. At the beginning of the week, Juan Pablo had always fixed his gaze on the ground and wore a dejected look on his face whenever we walked past. By giving Juan Pablo and other new children to El Hogar the emotional and mental support that they lacked and by encouraging their every attempt at adapting to the new lifestyle at El Hogar, we soon saw their stubborn frowns break into some of the purest smiles. For our brave efforts at reaching out to the children most in need of our help and love, we were rewarded with the gift of gratitude and some lasting relationships that we will sustain through letter writing, skyping and fundraiser projects between YHS and El Hogar. At the end of the day, it was our passion for building connections with the children and commitment to kindling their aspirations that became our best manifestation of the YHS motto: “Not for ourselves alone”.

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One Response to “Honduras 2014 – 2015”

  1. Colleen Marte February 2, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    ¡Me gusta mucho tu blog!

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