How the time has flown! I’m beginning my third and final month at Casa de Luz. The kids have worked very hard and I believe we have made great improvements, particularly in the areas of adjectives and spelling. We have established a routine of reading, writing, and assessments that have helped the students improve their study habits. We have continued to work on understanding the fruits of the spirit, and will finish this month with how to show kindness and respect for our parents, teachers, friends and family, and our community. The photos accompanying this post show our students learning in a variety of ways, and taking on leadership roles within the classroom. It is a joy to see how capable they are of leading their classmates and to see their pride in their accomplishments.

We are also working on our higher writing skills. Each student is writing their personal autobiography, and hopefully upon completion will have a better understanding of what it takes to create a polished project by beginning with a few ideas, creating a rough draft, and finally, presenting a finished paper incorporating the corrections and suggestions that I have given them. During this process I have so enjoyed getting to know my students’ innermost thoughts, aspirations, reflections, and memories. I am excited to see that so many of them have dreams for their futures, career aspirations, and the desire to learn and develop into productive citizens of their country.

Higher education on Roatán is suddenly much more achievable. A recent program has been instituted that will allow residents who complete high school to earn their bachelor’s degree in one of three career areas: Tourism, Informatics (Computer Science), and Teaching. The astounding thing is the cost, 300 lempiras per semester, or about $15! Students will be able to earn their degrees by attending school on Friday evenings, all day Saturday, and half-days on Sunday, which will allow them to keep a day job as well. I am so excited for my students who have aspirations of attending the university after graduation. I have always believed that education is the ticket out of poverty. I pray that this program will continue and grow in influence, as many parents do not yet see the need for their children to be educated beyond the minimum. For girls, the situation is bleak. It is not unusual for girls to finish their education after ninth grade. This is deemed sufficient for most, and typically has to do with helping to take care of their family. My heart cries out at the injustice and the lost potential. Sponsorship is very important to keep girls in school. Although high school is free, uniforms and transportation are not. For most families, a $50 uniform is a huge amount of money, and $40 per month for public transportation to school can be prohibitively expensive. Just to clarify, these costs are not part of sponsorship fees to attend Casa de Luz. Public or private education is separate from the English school and sponsorship fees support that ministry only. These wheels of change turn slowly, but I pray that for the sake of these students, and the future of Roatán, that the value of education and graduation becomes an intrinsic part of the core beliefs of the people.