For anyone who might be counting, the six month mark of our mission has just passed. We are now not only settling into the rythms of life in Central America and our neighborhood, but the culture as well. The days begin early as the roosters let us know that the sun is on its way. Dawn is upon us at roughly 5:30 every day and twelve hours later the sun sinks beneath the horizon. This cycle of 12 hours of light and dark is something that sets a tone for many in our community.
For those that are fortunate enough to have a job, the early morning light guides many to and from the resorts where they work. The Colonia provides many of the workers for the resorts all over the island. Having never given much thought to the cast of characters one finds at any given resort, it is now quite evident that this is a place where worlds collide. Many of those we know provide security, clean rooms and cook meals at resorts that may even be within sight of their own home. These are the fortunate ones, even though the salaries barely enable them to provide for their families.
The activities that have been keeping us busy over the past few months have brought us much closer to a world that until half a year ago, was pretty much another planet. Not only do we know many locals by name, we know where they live and how many brothers and sisters they have. Our commitment to a relationship-first approach is laying a solid foundation for the future. Our activities have allowed us to cross the line from a visitor, to one of teacher, coach, and sometimes, friend. We hope to create an environment which will not only provide opportunities for participants today, but into their future as well. We hope to instill a sense of hope and to encourage the young children to dream and to dream BIG!
Computers have allowed us to introduce some of our kids to a program where they can receive additional training in english and math. Most of the students that we took to the computer lab had never used a computer in their life. What an exciting time for not only the students, but for us, as well. Their ability to attend the program consistently will dictate whether or not they will have this opportunity available long term. Unfortunately, there are not enough resources, nor adults willing to lead classes or spend time with the kids, to reach everyone.
Each week we seek to increase the commitment from our students whether it be in attendance or attitude and discipline. As we deepen our relationships, not only are we offering more, we are requiring more as well. Occupational field trips are followed up with thank you letters. Trips to local marine parks and botanical gardens take place after beach clean-ups. These opportunities are in place in order to expose children to the various occupations that are part of everyday life here on the island. Many of our connections with these occupations are people who have been born and raised on Roatan. Future trips include a dental office, police station and air traffic control at our international airport. Who knows, a simple trip to the tower may inspire a child to dream of becoming a controller or even a pilot. This dream may then help them realize that an education is the gateway in making the dream become reality.
As the weeks and months pass,we see that many of our programs are simply pieces of a puzzle. Our purpose is to interconnect the pieces, creating a solid vision- both for you and the folks here, to believe in. The vision is to mentor and thereby develop leaders. We are currently in the process of designing a long-term sponsorship program to fulfill this mission. Those involved will not only receive a private education, but a program in-place, to ensure a high degree of success. Accountability and character building will be the backbone to this educational endeavor.