Author Archive for Stephanie Jansen

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Day Six: Presenting at the School

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Finished with our projects!

Today was the absolute icing on the cake. We presented our hard work from the week the children at school and it was so rewarding. We presented to the morning session first and then the afternoon sessions. We took two grades at a time. First the mural group unveiled the mural they made and explained its significance to the kids. Next the campaign group sang their song, showed off the new trashcans, and played a game with the kids where they categorized different types of trash. To end the presentation both groups did face painting on the children. They loved this part and went away covered in drawing. They ended up on their cheeks, foreheads, and arms.

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Here come the kids!

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Checking out the mural

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Playing the recycling game

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Painting faces

            After the presentation the OYE radio program set up some music and we were able to hangout with the kids during their recess. We had a blast dancing, taking pictures, and playing games with the children. We had a chance to talk to them and to laugh with them. In the end we received many hugs and all the children asked when we’d be coming back. This was the moment that really touched all of us during the trip. We actually made a small difference in the lives of the students.

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Katie and Emily with the kids

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Stephanie with the kids!

We also were able to peek our heads in a classroom. It was full of desks that were recently donated. There was no air-conditioning and the windows were open and barred. There were fans hanging from the ceiling. The room was pretty plain although it did have a few bulletin boards. You could really see the lack of resources the classroom had, but it looked like the teachers and the students made it work.

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One of the classrooms

In order to celebrate our big day we went to the scholar Oscar’s house for dinner. His mother made baleados; which is honestly the most delicious food in all of Honduras. There are many different toppings that you put in a tortilla. There were beans, cheese, eggs mixed with tomato, special Honduran sour cream, and chicken. It was absolutely delicious. To end the night we had our own dance party, with disco lights. Tomorrow is our last full day in Honduras and none of us are ready to leave this place!

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Oscar with the baleados

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Mike and Oscar dancing

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The group at Oscar’s house

 

Shoutouts day five!

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Sam with Honduran scholars!

Sam says:

Hola!

Everything just keeps getting better and better here in Honduras with every opportunity that comes. IT was incredible driving up into the mountains and doing some hiking. It was definitely worth every bit of sunburn that was inescapable today. The best feeling was hearing a Honduran man say, “God bless you” to all of us working at the mural site. Everyone is so excited to have us here in their country and watch what we’ve been doing. We finished the mural and I couldn’t be more proud of the work we did. It’s been the most humbling experience being here and working with OYE and all of the people that are a part of it. The friendships are priceless and the memories are truly endless.

Sending love back home,

Sam

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Katie and the soccer players!

Katie says:

Hi Everyone!

Well the trip is about half over and I don’t want it to end! I can’t wait to share all of my experiences, memories, and stories with everyone when I get back. Today we went up into the mountains and it was like nothing I have ever seen. The view and fresh air was very refreshing. We were able to kick the soccer ball around on top of this mountain with a group of little boy- niños! I can’t wait for what the rest of the week has for us.

-Katie

P.S This shout out goes to all y family and friends keeping up-to-date on my travels- love and miss you all!

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Annie with the girls!

Annie says:

Midweek already. It’s so sad. I’m not ready to come back to Wisconsin yet. There’s still so many lives I want to change and so many things to learn. Today we went up to the mountains. It took 45 minutes from bottom up to a scholar’s house. It was very eye opening. It opened my eyes to se much things I take for granted; for example school. Our OYE scholar walks top to borrow and vice versa just for school. That’s four hours total. As for me, for a ten minute walk to campus I should not complain. I shouldn’t complain for any walk actually. It’s amazing how much hope everyone here has. I learned a lot today.

-Annie

P.S Shout out to WI: I don’t miss you at all yet! I do miss you family, friends, and Charlee :)

 

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Stephanie and the soccer boys!

Stephanie says:

Wow! Best. Day. EVER! But honestly, this really was the greatest day in Honduras so far. The mountains were gorgeous. The little boys we played soccer with were hilarious! The questions they asked us were great! It was really hard to leave. I also exchanged one of my shirts with the scholar Claudia. She is such a sweetheart and it has been great getting to know her. Lastly, who can forget the coconut water to end the day. I am so glad I decided to come here. I am learning so much and having a great time! The next two days are going to fly by!

-Stephanie

P.S: My shout out goes specifically to my Mom and Grandma. Thank you so much for the notes we got surprised with today! Your words of encouragement mean so much to me! I love you both!

 

 

Day five: A Trip to the Mountains

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The gorgeous view

Today we were up a bit earlier than usual so we could travel up the mountains. We were going to visit the scholar, William, and have lunch at his house. When we arrived at the bottom of the hill we jumped in the back of pickup trucks to make the trek up the mountain. The road was dirt, rocky, and slim. It winded its way up the mountain. Although the climb was bumpy, the view was absolutely gorgeous.

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William’s house

On our way up the mountain we passed small houses made of concrete or wood. We also saw lots of farm animals just roaming about. People were walking up the mountain and horses were helping to carry things. It really painted a beautiful picture of rural Honduras. William’s place was similar to many that we passed. They had a horse in the yard, dogs and chickens roaming around, and a nice hammock in the shade of the house.

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William’s dad showing us his coffee plants

William’s dad took us for a hike where we were able to see his coffee plants. He had about one thousand plants, but many of them were attacked by a parasite. He also grows beans and plantains. Next we went back to the house to hangout and enjoy the view until lunchtime. When we got there we found a group of young boys waiting.

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Playing soccer with neighbor boys

The boys were relatives and neighbors of William and his family. At first they were shy but we started kicking around a soccer ball with them and they opened up. They asked tons of questions and were so funny. They were amazed to hear that we owned our own cars, and also wanted to hear about our ride in the airplane. Rachel showed the boys pictures of her family and Katie showed them pictures of snow. They also had us teach them all sorts of English words. We sang, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” for them and one of the boys responded that he thought it was absolutely beautiful. Later he sang a song in Spanish for us. The boys were dirty with holes in their clothes and shoes but they seemed really happy.

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William’s sister making tortillas

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Their oven

Next we had lunch. It was a soup that contained potatoes, hen, vegetables, and plantains. With it we had rice and homemade tortillas. William’s sisters grinded the corn for the tortillas and made the dough to flatten. Then they cooked it in a stove made out of clay and wood. Katie and Emily helped turn the crank to crush up the corn. This puts into perspective all the work it takes to make a meal. To end our time we had William blow out candles on his birthday cake.

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Saying goodbye to William’s family

After this busy day we headed back down the mountain and went back to OYE for a panel on Corporate Social Responsibility. 80% of us were sunburnt from our adventure. Thelma from KM2 Solutions was giving the presentation. KM2 Solutions is a call service that gets business from other countries outsourcing for customer service and sales. The reason the business is in San Pedro Sula is because there are many bilingual schools here and the accent is neutral and understandable for others that call.

KM2 chose OYE for their CSR out of 15 other organizations. They chose to donate their money and resources to OYE because they were impressed that the students gave the pitch and they were able to firsthand see the need of the students. They were also impressed at the skills and self-esteem students in OYE learn. Their new goals are to paint a 2nd mural with the students, participate in the Copa OYE soccer tournament, and join in capacity building workshops. They have been a prime contributor to the success the OYE. The main thing we learned about the presentation is that big corporations can help by reaching out to organizations in need.

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Rachel and Elaine at the store!

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Having Coconut water!

Next we put the final touches on our projects. The campaign group finished the remaining recycling barrels. Then Katie wrote a song about recycling for the kids so we created choreography. Next we went shopping to get face paints for the children. While we were out and about we decided to have some fun and stopped to get coconut water. There was a stand with fresh coconuts. They cut holes in the coconuts and we were able to drink the water by putting a straw in it. It was a great reward for finishing our project.

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Working hard

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All done!

The mural group worked really hard and finished the mural! Tomorrow they will be unveiling it for the students at the school. Many touch ups and second coats were added. Also they added the recycling sign and final details. It looks great and everyone is really excited about it!

Everyone was tired and sunburned from the day but Chelsea had a great surprise for us at dinner. She pulled out an envelope that contained notes from all of our parents! We can’t believe that the week is more than halfway done! The time has flown by!

Shout outs day four!

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Erin completing human knot

Erin says:

It’s day four of our trip and it’s been such an amazing experience so far! One of the major projects we have been working on is the mural. This is supposed to show kids why we need to recycle and take care of our environment. Before this trip I never payed attention to littering or recycling until I witnessed all the trash in the roads and rivers in Honduras. It taught me that we can’t take this world for granted and we need to learn to take better care of it.

P.S Mom and Dad, I love you guys!

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Mike working hard!

Mike says:

Hola everyone!!!

Day four is coming to a close and I think it has been the best day yet! We woke up early, had breakfast and were out of the hotel and at OYE by 9:15am. There we met and spoke with Hector, an associate of Fé Alegria, dealing with many of the core issues in education. This was, so far, my favorite part of the trip because I got to really see first hand some of the base issues and what organizations like Fé Alegria and the government are doing about it. I also really enjoyed playing soccer with some Hondurans associated with OYE and sweating way too much. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store for us!

Love Mike

P.S Dad- keep the NCAA Tournament updates coming!

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Rachel planting a tree

Rachel says:

Qué pasa Oshkosh? So far this week has been amazing! As a first semester Spanish student, it’s been really fun to try talking to the Honduran people. You can definitely tell they are trying to speak english with us as well which makes things a lot easier. The projects we are doing are separated into groups which gives us a chance to connect with the kids one on one. Today I learned Claudia and Haylee love American TV; such as Bones, The X-factor, and The Voice. They also love Justin Timberlake, but then again who doesn’t? I can’t get over how simple, but amazing, the food here is. Going back to Blackhawk is going to be a struggle after this. It’s safe to say I’m loving it here and I wish we could stay so much longer. There’s so much work to be done here and OYE seems to welcome the help. So until we’re back in Oshkosh it’s work, work, work for us!

-Rachel

P.S Mom and Dad if you guys ever figure this blog out, Hi and I love you guys!

Day four: Education and Soccer

The day started with another panel. This one talked about education. Presenting was Hector from the NGO Fé Alegria. This organization promotes education in communities, not just in individuals. He talked about the different eras of Honduras starting with the 80’s and 90’s where teachers were being killed for being “communists”. Then in the 90’s to early 2000’s there was a neoliberal move to privatized education. Lastly we talked about the Coup in 2009 that reconfigured the whole education system.

Next he talked about the identity crisis that the students have to face. They are stuck debating if they fit the role of rural farmer or urban citizen. This occurs especially when families move. Teachers need to have the mentality of whom they are teaching to. Also in terms of identity there is a religious, ethnic, and political divide.

The reality is that being a teacher in Honduras is a difficult job. Hector says it’s easier to be an assassin than to be a teacher. Although teachers by law make a minimum of 430 dollars a month, in many instances they are not given this age or have to wait an entire year to get paid. There also aren’t enough positions for teachers; so a teacher may stay in a bad condition just so he can keep his job. Less people are studying to be teachers because things look bleak; but out of every ten students that graduate high school only three have the economic means to go to college. We learned so much that it’s just too much to write so be sure to ask us more about the education system of Honduras!

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The team with the recycling barrels

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Go team!

Next we split up to continue working on campaign and mural projects. The campaign students used their stencils they made to decorate their trash barrels. Then we took a field trip to go get art supplies. Next we worked on our poster and joked around. It was a really fun day and we got a lot accomplished.

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Adding stencils

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Making progress

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Emily’s handprints

The mural team made really good progress. We got the “Arte la Calle” stenciled on as well as the UW Oshkosh logo. There was a lot more progress on the globe as well. Emily had a lot of fun learning Spanish words from the two scholars Paolo and Wendy. Emily had the scholars put their handprints on her shirt.

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Playing soccer!

To end the day both teams met up at a fantastic park to play soccer. The park contained a train museum so there were old train cars all around the park. We split into four different teams; two American teams and two Honduran teams. We played on a small concrete futsal court. It was really fun! Some of the scholar students brought siblings and we also got to meet the people that run the sports program. The American teams did surprisingly well but there is some suspicion that they went easy on us. After playing we had some tamales that some of the scholar’s mothers made and taught more scholars the wobble.

September 2014
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