The Honduras Child Alliance runs several programs to support the people of El Porvenir. The main program is the Porvenir English Program (PEP). Classes are offered free of charge to children and adults at three main locations in the village. Each location draws students from the neighborhood. As any teacher knows, each class has its own personality, strengths and weaknesses. The volunteers work hard to meet the needs of individual students. There is so much that I’ve experienced this first week that it’s impossible to share it all. Today I will focus on one location.
PEP2 is in a neighborhood that is about a 30-minute walk (or 10-minute tuk-tuk ride) from the center of El Porvenir. Even though it’s hot, I love walking through the neighborhoods on the way to PEP2 and seeing close up how people live. The loud music we heard coming from a few houses this morning meant it was cleaning day for that household. Another thing I love is that there are always some students eagerly awaiting the volunteers. They help us set up for class and try to get a few extra minutes of play time in. They also always greet the new volunteers and love introducing themselves in English.
The more experienced volunteers create lesson plans for each class and we review them at a weekly planning meeting as well as before each class. All plans are shared on a Google Doc, and each volunteer is assigned certain responsibilities related to the lesson. This system allows the volunteers to rotate to each location and different classes and still be able to teach the lesson for that particular group. This week, I have run “circle time” (in Spanish), conducted some immersion activities (in English) and gave a lot of piggy back rides.
At PEP2, I’ve had classes as small as four students in the morning, but usually have about 15-20 students in the afternoon. This location tends to have more boys, many of them wanting to show they are tougher than the others. Sometimes there are neighborhood kids walking by and ridiculing the kids in the class. Still, these kids come to class voluntarily. Some kids even come to extra classes when their regular school classes are canceled.
Some of our happy clients:
Most classes run for 90-120 minutes. Class starts with 15 minutes of games. Pick up sticks and Uno are favorites. The boys are experts at putting extra cards down, but I’ve still managed to win a few rounds. Classes follow a specific routine from here. More on that in other posts.
As you can see from the pictures, PEP2 is just a shack, but we make great use of it. There is no bathroom and one outside faucet. The Honduras Child Alliance has secured a new location with a much sturdier and useful building for PEP2. They are currently fundraising to be able to renovate the building and purchase supplies. Click here to go to the Honduras Child Alliance website for more details.
This is usually just one of up to three classes I have any given day. It’s a long and hot walk home, but also beautiful and a chance for the volunteers to discuss how the class went and what the weekend plans will be!