According to a very interesting, recent research volunteering is one of the things making people happier. For more about what makes us happy check out this link ”Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier” .
The kinder, where we have been working with Ania Jr., was founded by Amalia and Charlie Kirkhum for the poor kids of Honduras http://www.honduraschildren.com/
There are about 25 children between 3-5 attending it. The local teacher, Rosa, runs the acitvities with the help of volunteers, like ourselves, coming to El Porvenir, from around the world.
A typical day starts at 7:30 am by gathering kids by volunteers from their houses and walking them to the kinder. Breakfast is served at around 10:00. Amalia brings a big bag of corn flakes and milk; sometimes bananas and eggs. The kids love it. After breakfast they all brush their teeth. Teaching them daily dental hygiene is very important here. The classes end at noon.
Despite age differences all kids follow the same curriculum. They learn the alphabet, numbers, seasons, and some general knowledge. They also have art, sports and love singing and dancing. Fridays are more about fun activities than learning. Just like when our kids went to a kinder in Wroclaw some time ago. One of the striking differences between the Polish and Honduran kinder is the amount of toys or lack thereof in Honduras. The local kids thus get more creative and make their own toys out of leaves, coconut, stones, sticks etc.
In our work we help Rosa in preparing the daily materials, food portioning and helping the kids during classes. Everyday we bring new set of props for new activities such as play dough sculpting, origami, sticking art, collage.
Rosa, the head teacher, though not licensed, is a great professional. She welcomed our support. Unfortunately soon before Easter she quit. It is sad that despite her great talent she is no longer involved in the kinder. With 50% unemployment the chances for her to find a new job are slim. The level of poverty in Honduras is appaling. Close to 70% of people live below minimum level of existance, which in Honduras is pretty low to begin with.
One of the shocking views we will carry in our memories with little Ania was two boys eating a roasted iguana for breakfast at the kinder!
The day we started our volunteering there were three other volunteers. There were about 4 kids for each of us. This is quite a luxury. It felt there were too many of us and too little to do. In the third week a group of 13 people came from the US. During that week it got really crowded at the kinder. I took the opportunity to have a week off and focus on the homeschooling with our kids.
In Central America there are many needs. I definitely encourage you to come here spontaneously as a volunteer, rather than go through agencies collecting money. Before coming here make sure you have decent accommodation and do not prepay for it in anyway. In El Porvenir there is also a public kinder where an outside help would be more than welcome.
Just like the welcome, the goodbyes were very moving. The kids came several times to hug us goodbye and thank us. They are amazing. I hope they will have a chance to live a better future.