Brandon

Today’s topic is one I’ve been meaning to cover for a long time. Fortunately, the passing of time has only given me more material for this post. What follows today is part narrative and part series of short incidents. I think it will still prove to be enjoyable.

Today’s topic is Edder Brandon Misael Suazo Izaguirre, best known as Brandon (he has three first names, in addition to the typical two last names in Spanish-speaking countries). I mentioned him several posts back when I wrote about his whole class. My first encounter with Brandon came one night about a week before classes started back in February. I had gone with my hosts to pick up some food from a take-away restaurant. There were a number of other people there waiting for there food as well. Brandon was there with his grandmother and I was told that he would be one of our new students in 1st. grade in the upcoming school year. As I watched him playing with his stuffed Goofy figure, he looked so cute and little. Little did I then know what was to come.

Brandon started the school year with a bang, quickly demonstrating his energetic, rambunctious nature. Within the span of a few weeks, he was seemingly known by the whole school, teachers and students alike. Having him in my class twice a week (most of the time!), I have gotten quite familiar with him and his behavior. Through it all, I’ve experienced a whole range of emotions, from amusement and frustration to pity and annoyance. In short, Brandon has emerged from being a cute little boy to being a character with something of a backstory. I’ll share with you some of these from memory, both specific instances and general trends.

Story #1: A week or so into classes, I gave my students in first grade a coloring worksheet to do in-class. I was in a hurry to get to my next class that day and when I left some of the students were still working on the sheet. I learned later that day or the next day from his classroom teacher that Brandon had ripped the sheet up and eaten it! Thankfully, I haven’t heard of him doing such a thing again.

Story #2: Those of you who have been reading my blog faithfully might recall our trip to a park and zoo some months back. On this trip, I ended up holding Brandon’s hand as we walked around the small zoo. I can’t remember if I volunteered to do this or if I was asked. In any event, the other students walked more or less in a line on the path. But Brandon was constantly pulling on my hand, always wanting to pick up something (usually a stick) from the ground. I learned to scan the ground ahead of him in order to foil his plans. When we got to the lion, he tried slipping through the fence and down into the wide-deep ditch that was between the fence and the lion cage. Needless to say, it was a long afternoon for me!

Story #3: Brandon is often to be seen in tears. At this point, I can recognize the sound of his bawlinging from the other side of the school. This usually results from when he doesn’t get his way in something, and event which usually happens about once a week. His crying is usually accompanied preceded by him stamping his feet and jumping up and down a bit. The fact that he is an only child and unfortunately has no father or significant male figure in his life probably are both contributing factors in this behavior on his part.

Story #4: As you might have already guessed, we’ve had discipline issue with Brandon. He is frequently ‘castigado’ – put out of the classroom for bad behavior. While I do see him many times in his seat with his little head bent over his notebook, there are many time when he wanders about the school, visiting other classrooms at will. I myself have had to drag him into and out of rooms as the situation demanded it. A frequent sight was him in ‘direccion’ (the school office) standing up against the wall and being sternly lectured by Profe Lucas. This is, of course, usually accompanied by more tears.

Story #5: Brandon has quite the way with older women and girls. He told Profe Keilyn, who teaches Prepa and Kinder, that he wanted to marry her. Naturally, she told him that he was too young to marry her and that she would be much older by the time he was old enough to do so. He also flirted briefly with one of the girls in 5th grade. Her “boyfriend” (also in 5th grade) disliked that and I think he and Brandon briefly wrestled (playfully of course!) But some of us teachers were afraid the older student would take things too far and hurt Brandon, who is naturally much smaller than him.

Having shared all of this with you, I do have some good news. Brandon has lately been in direccion less and less frequently. He hasn’t (as far as I know) been flirting or hitting on any women or girls. And he hasn’t eaten any classroom assignments. Slowly but surely, I think Brandon is learning how to behave in a school setting. He has in recent weeks even given me a few hugs upon being prompted to do so. I hope to see this little guy show even more improvement next year here.

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A Visit to Siguatepeque

Mountains to the southwest of Siguatepeque.
Mountains to the southwest of Siguatepeque.

Last Saturday morning, I took a bus north to the small city of Siguatepeque. The purpose of my visit was to meet with David Bercot and his wife Debra. For many years, this couple had been supporting poor people in and around Siguatepeque through the Society of the Good Shepherd, a non-profit organization. I had read of their work there in the monthly newsletters they had sent out. Now I was finally going to see some of these people in person. It might be good for you to read more about them and their work here before continuing. Here is their website.

After a little over two hours in the bus, I arrived in Siguatepeque. I had been on that road several times in the past, but since road goes right past the town, I had never gotten to see the town itself. Siguatepeque is located in a large valley. In the distance in either direction can be seen looming mountains. The valley itself and some of the hillsides are devoted to coffee growing. More land is devoted to forestry. The city itself has nearly 75’000 people but after Tegucigalpa I thik of that as a nice size.

I was met there by the Bercots and Luis Vega, one of the three Hondurans directors. After going to Luis’ house for a quick meal, we left for the house of Dixy Barahona, one of the other directors. This was where I would stay the night. Soon after my arrival, the meeting for those who were given loans began. I missed the first half-hour or so because I was resting in my room but I got to see most of it. After opening with prayer, several of the directors and loan recipients spoke, some games were played, and snacks were served. I even won a prize in one of the games (it was a package of cookies). I was asked to give a few words about my parents involvement in the society. I was a little nervous speaking in front of all those strangers, but I managed to convey the general feelings of my parents and myself for the society. Thankfully, Luis served me as a good translator. As David said, this was a unique opportunity for the people there to see one of their donors (or in this case, someone related to them).

Some of the loan recipients playing one of the games that evening.
Some of the loan recipients playing one of the games that evening.

The next morning I attended a small Mennonite meeting with Luis and David. There were about 30-35 people meeting in the house/meeting house belonging to David Yoder, an American living on a farm in the hills about 5 miles outside Siguatepeque. These Mennonites use cars and trucks instead of horses and buggies, but are otherwise quite conservative in their dress and lifestyle. The service lasted around two hours, David being one of the speakers. The Mennonites use no musical accompaniment in their services, a first-time experience for me. The Spanish-language hymnal they used was mostly filled with songs that had been translated from English to Spanish. The several speakers either spoke in Spanish or used a translator, as most of those present were Hondurans. Utlimately, I was glad I could experience what I did there.

After a meal kindly prepared by the Yoder family, I left the house and was taken to the bus station by Luis and David. Looking up at the mountains, I reflected on my time there. It had been only a little over a day, but I had enjoyed myself thoroughly. In fact, I’m already hoping to go back there again this year. I know there is more to see and do there.

David Bercot and myself.
David Bercot and myself.

Dia del Indio

Last Thursday Escuela Yeshua celebrated a holiday known as Dia del Indio. This is strictly a Honduran holiday. It is patriotic, as there are speeches about the early history of the country and always a large flag present. More importantly, it is a chance for schoolchildren to dress up in different costumes. I had the opportunity to witness not one, but two different celebrations of this holiday. Unfortunately, I took all the pictures of the celebration at Escuela Yeshua with my phone and not my camera. You’ll just have to use your imagination!

Some of our students came dressed as Indians native to Honduras. These are brown and typically consist of a loincloth, headdress (sometimes quite elaborate). The boys were topless and the girls wore a bikini-like affair over their breasts. Both boys and girls were barefoot or wore sandals. I don’t know how many of these costumes were made in the home and how many were purchased in a store, but they were frequently elaborate and always colorful.

Others wore what I would call ‘folk-costumes’. These latter look like nice, clean versions of what peasants here might have once worn. The boys wore wide-brimmed straw hats, white pants, and white long-sleeved shirts, these latter two made of a lightweight material. The girls wore brightly-colored ruffled dresses, the favored colors being pink, red, and yellow. The girls also wore a little make-up and had their hair braided.

Our morning had several parts. One of the teachers and some of the students gave a short reading or presentation about some aspect of the early history of the country. This was followed by dancing on the part of the students dressed in folk costumes. Later the students were judged by several family members of Professor Ondina. I’m honestly not sure what the judges were looking at, the quality of the costumes or something else. But several people or couples were in 1st., 2nd., or 3rd. place.

The next day I was invited to witness the Dia del Indio celebration at Escuela Jose Cecilio del Valle, which I’ve mentioned in at least one of my other posts (in the case of this school, it might be more accurate to say ‘Dia del India’ since it is an all-girls school!). The costumes here were the same, only that there were no boys, hence an absence of boys’ costumes.

There were a few words spoken by a teacher and some singing of a patriotic song or two, the principal serving as a sort of conductor for the students. While there was no dancing, two girls from each of the 6 grades had dressed up in an Indian outfit. Each girl was judges as she walked the circumference of the courtyard. Eventually, a winner was chosen from the 12 competitors. This year it was a girl from 6th. grade with an elaborate dress and a prop of sorts in each arm.

From right to left, a pair of girls from grades 1-6 waiting for the judges to make their decision.
From right to left, a pair of girls from grades 1-6 waiting for the judges to make their decision.

I wanted to share with you some videos of both schools but I’m not sure I can do that. If I figure out how to do that, I’ll be sure to do that in the future. In the meantime, I’ll just leave you with some pictures from Jose Cecilio del Valle.

Girls from 1st. grade.
Girls from 1st. grade.
Some girls from 3rd. grade. Some of them seem to have spotted me as I took this picture. I took it because I worked in their classroom one day.
Some girls from 3rd. grade. Some of them seem to have spotted me as I took this picture. I took it because I worked in their classroom one day.
Two girls from 6th. were responsible for holding the flag.
Two girls from 6th. were responsible for holding the flag.
Girls from 4th. and 5th. grade.
Girls from 4th. and 5th. grade.
Some girls from 6th. grade supporting a classmate. However, their candidate didn't win.
Some girls from 6th. grade supporting a classmate. However, their candidate didn’t win.

 

 

A Day in 1st Grade

Some of 1st Grade at Recreo
Some of 1st Grade at Recreo 

As you all probably know by now, I teach English to grades 1-6 at Escuela Yeshua. I teach 2 classes each week per grade. Each class has one section. However, there is ONE class here which should be two sections, one grade which more than any other would really best be split into two sections. One very oversize bunch.

Meet our first graders.

I know, I know. You probably guessed what I was going to say after seeing the title to today’s post. Well, I wanted to introduce them in a way that was dramatic and caught your attention for what follows. But enough with stylistic explanations!

Months ago, I heard that class sizes in school here were supposed to be no more than 30 students. Should the class exceed this number it would be split into two sections. But like so many laws and rules here, what it says in the book and what happens in real life part ways quickly. In our case, we lack the funds to pay for another teacher and the room in which to house the new students. This leaves poor professor Ondina with the daunting task of managing a classroom full of 34 5 and 6 year old boys and girls. And while this seems bad, I’ve heard that the public school down the street from us has 60-70 kids in a classroom at once. And bear in mind that like most public schools here, there are the kids who come for class in the morning and kids who come in the afternoon.

Where do I enter this picture? As I said above, only twice a week (thankfully!). First grade has English from 7:15-8 on Tuesdays and 10-10:45 on Thursdays. Today I’m going to give you a minute by minute account of what one of these days is like. I’ll use Thursday, since that better represents the general state these kids are in. On Tuesday, they’re still waking up, which makes them quieter and easier to handle for me. All this being said, time to head to class!

10:00 – I enter the classroom. Like a swimmer about to stay underwater for some time, I take a deep breath outside the door before plunging inside. The sound of talking and shouting from their room can be heard all over the school. Sometimes I will deliberately wait till a minute or two after 10 to enter the room, if I’m not in the best of moods.

10:02 – I take attendance in a book given to me by the school for such a task. As you can imagine, it takes a few minutes to take attendance, due to the number of students. The task is further complicated by the fact that these particular kids like to say ‘presente’ for another student who is absent. I have to keep my eyes on them constantly while doing this and scan the room to make sure who showed up and who is absent.

10:05 – Time to check homework. Lately, I’ve been giving my homework for them out of their English book. Some kids will almost always do the homework, while other will never or almost never do it. Sometimes kids will do their work right there in class, work which they had a few days to do at home. Then there are some who will do work in the book before I tell them to do it. Sometimes they do it correctly and sometimes they don’t. Both these types of kids are frustrating for me.

10:06 – Emily walks in. She always seems to be late, that is when she comes.

10:07 – Class finally gets underway!

Samuel, with Jaziel to his right and Brandon to his left.
Samuel, with Jaziel to his right and Brandon to his left. 

10:08 – Victor asks me if he may get a drink of water. I say ‘no’.

10:09 – Introducing new vocabulary words, I tape paper cutouts of the new vocab to the board and write the names of the new objects next to them. The students copy the new words in their notebooks, sometimes accompanied by pictures of the said objects. Then they repeat the word after me.

10:11 – The students voices have been gradually rising during the class period and along with theirs so has mine. Finally, just when things are starting to get out of control, Profe Lucas appears in the doorway. He is a welcome sight. He is the husband of Profe Ondina and one of his many roles here is that of part-time assistant teacher to his wife. Simply the sight of him standing in the doorway is enough to cause a hush to fall over the classroom. He tells them in no uncertain terms that they need to be quiet and listen to me. After watching them for a minute or so, he leaves. The classroom is now fairly quiet. Well, at least for the next 5 minutes or so.

10:14 – Alannis asks me (in her quiet, ‘nice little girl voice’) if she may go to the bathroom. I tell her ‘no’.

10:16 – I see Brandon messing around and upon further inspection, I see he hasn’t starting copying the new vocabulary in his notebook. When I ask him about this, he informs me (yet again) that he doesn’t have a pencil. I spend a minute or two looking for a pencil on the cluttered teacher’s table that is a) sharp and b) has an eraser, preferably.

10:17 – Christopher asks me if he may go to the bathroom. Once again I say ‘no’. Can you tell by now that I’m not the nicest teacher to these kids? Just kidding!

10:19 – I have the students match vocab words with the paper cutouts. Asking for volunteers, I’m met with at least half a dozen kids clamoring to be ‘the one’. One of the nice things about kids this age, unlike some of the older ones, is that at least some of them are always willing to participate in classroom activities.

10:21 – My first volunteer is Daniel, one of the better students. He draws a line from the image to the correct word. I smile at him, nod, and say the name of the word. He is sent back to his seat. I saw him looking in his book before going up to the board, but I let it slide.

10:23 – I let Samuel come up to the front. He isn’t one of the better students. He hesitates in front of his options before slowly drawing a line from the wrong word and image. I tell him he is wrong and then erase his line. Samuel is sent back to his seat.

10:25 – Kemel FINALLY gets to pick one of the last options. He’s been raising his hand ever since I the exercise started but I haven’t picked him because he is out of his seat. Constantly. Now that I finally se him sitting, I let him come up and give things a go. His options have been reduced for him and he is a good student, so he gets the correct answer.

10:28 – Many of the kids who aren’t actively participating are getting bored. I can see this and where this might lead.

10:30 – Sure enough, a fight breaks out. Usually, the cause of the fight is one student taking a pencil from another, or not letting another student have a pencil. Today, the combatants are Jafeth and Jonathan. I move in to break up the fight before they start rolling on the floor and pulling each other’s hair.

10:32 – I announce an activity in the book. This involves cutting and pasting cardboard cutouts in the back of the book and putting them on a page closer to the front of the book. It also involves me helping a few kids cut the things out of their book, since sometimes the cardboard is in a spot that is hard to get for the kids.

10:35 – I look for glue. I never think of things like this until it is too late. Some kids have gluestick but most need to have some glue put in large water bottle caps. Given the nature of this activity, surprisingly little glue gets on or in a place that it shouldn’t.

10:37 – While checking on the students, I feel my foot slide on something slippery on the floor. Looking down, I can see a puddle of water. Someone has spilled their water again. This actually has happened so often that I will often look down at the floor between the rows of seats before walking there.

10:40 – Most of the students are done now and I’m about ready to be done too!

10:43 – I tell the students what their homework is for the next time, opening my copy of the textbook and showing it to them to help them. I then write it on the board. I see a few kids marking it down in their notebook or book. As much as I raise my voice and repeat myself, I know there are at least a few kids who aren’t listening to me. But there is only so much I can do to help these kids.

10:46 – I exit the class one minute over the class period but I’m not too worried. I know my 4th graders won’t be upset with me. After 1st grade, they’re a ‘piece of cake’!

Disclaimer: So I realize that in writing this I make myself sound overmatched and incompetent with these kids but I would think many teachers with much more classroom experience than me would find a room full of 23 little boys and 11 little girls to be a challenge. All the above being said, these kids can be enjoyable to work with at times and are really cute as well.

The Latest Happenings from Escuela Yeshua

The content of today’s post was originally going to be in two separate posts but due to a delay on my part due to illness and not quite enough content to fill two posts, I’ll be writing one post instead. You’ll get a brief overview of what we’ve been doing with our students over the last week or so.

This past Saturday, the students, myself, and most of the other teachers crammed into a bus belonging to the Honduran military. The father of one of our 1st grade students (our school president, no less) is a colonel in the Honduran army and he kindly helped arrange a time for our students to visit various military-related locations here in the city. Our first stop was the military headquarters located in downtown Comayaguela. I had been past this large building on several occasions but had never paid much attention to it. Walking inside past armed sentries we made our way to an air-conditioned auditorium hall. After a few brief words from the Garcias, some of our students performed two different dances native to the country. This done, it was time for an animated film from Pixar. Upon leaving the auditorium, we were each provided with a small drink and snack.

Students line up for a turn on the slide.
Students line up for a turn on the slide.

Right next to the military headquarters is a park, Parque Soldado. This park contains a statue and some large weaponry from the 1969 “Soccer War” with El Salvador. But more importantly for us, it also has some playground equipment. After sitting for a few hours in a dark theater, the kids were ready to get out and run around for a bit. Both the regular playground equipment (swings, slides, and monkey bars) and military equipment served as play items, with kids swarming over them. And of course, some of the boys brought a ball to kick around.

Leaving the park, we got back on the bus for the short ride through the narrow, crowded streets of the old downtown part of Tegucigalpa. Our destination was the Museo Historico Militar. I’ll admit, I never knew of the existence of this place, and I had walked near it on several occasions in the past. Inside were a variety of objects and displays detailing the history of the different branches of the Honduran military. Since my Spanish reading comprehension isn’t 100% perfect and there was only so much time that we had, I had to just skim over a lot of the displays. But I still got to see quite a bit. The most interesting things for me (and most of the kids) were the actual vehicles and weapons sitting out in the courtyards of the museum. These included a patrol boat, helicopter, and small airplane. Upon leaving, we all thanked the Colonel and his family for making our visit to the several sites a pleasant experience.

A chopper chock full of kids.
A chopper chock full of kids.

Yesterday there was a Feria Scientifica, or science fair at Escuela Yeshua. I knew there would be a science fair sometime this year, but I didn’t know it would be this soon. I only learned about it sometime last week. I had originally been told that I would somehow have to participate in this event, so when I learned that it was less than a week away, I initially panicked. Fortunately, I was informed that no, I would not have to help with anyone’s science project. Seeing as the students were being graded on their projects by the teachers, I was just as glad they didn’t have my “help”. My involvement in the sciences was somewhat limited and ended over five years ago.

However, I didn’t escape entirely. As I may have stated in one of my earlier posts, I’ve become the unofficial school photographer, due in part to me seemingly being the only one of the teachers who has a camera. I was tired due to recovering from a brief bout of illness and due to that and me not wanting to put any effort into trying to read the Spanish explanations for some of the demonstrations, I can tell you very little about what some of the experiments were about. Instead, I’ll leave you with some pictures of the fair instead. Credit for some of these goes to at least one of the other teachers, as I loaned my camera to them to take pictures of the fair.

This was something of the 3rd grade but I don't remember what it was.
This was something of the 3rd grade but I don’t remember what it was.
An explanation for demonstrations from the 6th. grade.
An explanation for demonstrations from the 6th. grade. 
The project from 6th. grade.
The project from 6th. grade.
One of three volcanoes at the fair, this being the one from 3rd. grade.
One of three volcanoes at the fair, this being the one from 3rd. grade.
Girls from 2nd. grade.
Girls from 2nd. grade.

Dia de Medio Ambiente

Nahomy and Brayan
Nahomy and Brayan  

This past Sunday Escuela Evangelica Yeshua was one of twenty schools to take part in a desfile, or parade. The occasion was Dia de Medio Ambiente. This holiday is basically the same as Earth Day in the U.S.. Part of the Friday prior to this was devoted to various presentations on the part of our students and one of our teachers. The topics revolved around the earth, the environment, and how we can work to preserve those things. Thankfully, I was asked to contribute nothing to this, as my background in the natural sciences is limited.

The morning of the parade me, my hosts, and a pair of students in our band bundled into one of our school vans along with a pile of drums, signs for students to carry, and other assorted instruments. Our march began in the center of Comayaguela and ended in the old center of Tegucigalpa. As marches go, it couldn’t be all that long, as many of the students taking part in the parade were from prepa (about kindergarten-age), 1st., and 2nd. grade.

Nahomy and Brayan
Nahomy and Brayan

diademedioambiente 005

We were the last school in marching order. All the way up the street ahead of us were groups of students from other schools, sometimes with their parents. We also had parents marching with us, usually with the younger children. Thankfully, the whole procession came to a halt at many points, sometimes for a few minutes on end, allowing people to rest and at one point sit down on the curb, as some of them did. I myself didn’t get too tired, but the next day I regretted not having worn a hat and forgetting to put on any sunblock!

In typical Honduran fashion, our parade started rather irregularly. Only some of the band was there, so Profe Lucas had to take up a large drum and do his part until our drummer arrived. As the parade progressed, students appeared within our ranks. One minute there would be 6 students in a row and the next minute there would be 7. By the time we were 3/4 of the way through the parade, we had a nice crowd of students. But one or two didn’t even show up until near the very end. A couple members of the marching band didn’t even show up at all.

diademedioambiente 033

Most of the students outside of the marching band wore some kind of costume. Due to the holiday, they wore animal costumes. I enjoyed seeing who decided to be what. However, due to the heat, several of the students ended up pulling back their hoods. I was thankful I was wearing only a t-shirt on my upper body. However, I was glad I had bought a pair of nice sunglasses several weeks prior to this, as we ended up having a sunny morning.

Finally, the parade came to an end. At the very end of our march was a table where members of the school district were sitting. As each school would pass in front of the table, members of each school would turn and face the school officials. In turn, each school would be announced by name. In our case, the school band played a few songs in front of the gathered officials for a few minutes. After this, the whole event was over.

The band playing in front of the school district officials.
The band playing in front of the school district officials.

In total, the whole event lasted a little over 2 hours. I enjoyed myself the whole time. Now I have an idea of what we’ll be doing for Independence Day in mid-September, only that will be on a much larger scale. And of course, I’ll be sure to include a blog post about that as well!

 

Costa Rica

Looking south across San Jose from a large park near the middle of the city.
Looking south across San Jose from a large park near the middle of the city.

Do you know the way to San Jose? (No, not the city in California. I’ve never been there) I know the way there, after having traveled there and back by bus. Last week, I had to leave Honduras for at least 72 hours in order to have my passport stamped for another 90 days upon re-entering the country. I couldn’t have it stamped by going to a neighboring country, so Costa Rica was our best option. I made my journey with one of my hosts. Between traveling and being there, I was out of Honduras for 6 days.

On Saturday the 23rd., we left Tegucigalpa by bus. The first night was spent in the capital of Nicaragua, Managua. The following day, we would go by bus to San Jose, where we would spend a little over 72 hours. I didn’t really get to see any of Nicaragua, other than what I could see by looking out the window of our bus. The weather there was warm and humid and out hotel room was stuffy, small and had only one window, in addition to a ceiling fan. Thankfully, we spent little time there as out bus left fairly early the next morning.

The next day we arrived in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Other than getting something to eat, we did very little, as it was evening when we arrived there. The food there was good, at least what authentic Costa Rican cuisine we tasted. Over the course of the next few days, we ate at the following places: Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Quiznos, and twice at Subway. I had some Chinese food, although I ended up paying a rather high price for it. I’m not sure the man behind the counter fully understood us, even though he spoke Spanish. In any event, the food was pretty good and tasted a lot like the Chinese food I’d eaten back in the U.S..

The next few days were filled with a lot of walking around the middle of San Jose. We woke up when we felt like it, left the hotel late in the morning, and returned to the hotel late in the afternoon to rest our tired legs. I was glad I thought of bringing my jacket. The weather was usually cool when we were there and around 2 or 3 o’clock every afternoon there was a light rain. I didn’t mind the weather, although it did rather inconvenience us with it’s timing. San Jose is located in a large valley, which it shares with several other smaller cities. As with the rest of Central America, the hottest and most humid weather is to be found on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. However, due to time and our limited supply of cash, we were limited to sightseeing in San Jose.

A pedestrian-only street in downtown San Jose. There were several of these streets there.

The above picture shows one of the several pedestrian-only streets in downtown San Jose. Most of our time there was just spent walking around and seeing the sights. There were several nice parks near the center of the city, as well as several large beautiful Catholic cathedrals. San Jose is very different from Tegucigalpa. It struck me as being part Latin American, part North American, and a little bit European as well. There were a lot of attractive buildings there, in addition to the cathedrals just mentioned. Overall, I found it to be a safe and clean city.

Our time in San Jose came to an end and we made the long bus trip back to Tegucigalpa. We stayed at the hotel by the bus station in Managua, the same as on the way down. I was originally not looking forward to spending so much time outside of Tegucigalpa and away from my students but I ended up enjoying myself immensely. It was probably a much-needed break from my daily routines at school. Having been there, I now want to go back to Costa Rica and see some more of the country outside of San Jose. But for now, I’m happy to be back in Tegucigalpa and working with the kids once more.