Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Finally some Help has arrived!

After the first 2 weeks of the quarter teaching several classes a day alongside the only other volunteer teacher here, Ashley, help has finally arrived in a couple from the UK and a recent college graduate from Boston College.  After a couple weeks of improvising and teaching more than usual, while also preparing for new volunteers and running the college, I would have taken any help that I could.  What we did get at the college are 3 awesome and motivated volunteers.  Even though they have been here less than a week, it's apparent that they are very excited to be here as well.  I have no doubt that we will have a successful quarter with Ashley, Ben & Martina, and Malcolm doing a bulk of the teaching.  Thank you to the current volunteers and all who have volunteered in the past for the Leadership Center!

We have been reviewing applications for new students, will have interviews in about a month, and start the new cohort of students in April.  We are very excited to be able to continue to bring in new students and teach the next generation of Honduran leaders. God bless those who have supported our ministry here in Honduras.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back in Honduras by Sarah Lucia

We left Houston at about 9am the next morning and arrived in Tegucigalpa around noon. Despite the rough landing in which we hit the runway, took off again, and then entered the “bowl” where the Teguc airport is to try again…we did make it safe and sound. As my hands went numb (probably due to the extreme adrenaline rush that enters one’s body when one realizes that death, I mean heaven could be closer than expected) the Honduran girl next to me assured me it was perfectly normal for the pilot to make several tries before actually landing the airplane.  Anyways, by about 2pm we were on our way to Zambrano with Glen. After a few errands and a balleata (traditional Honduran street food) we were happy to meet Ira (who arrived a day earlier) at our home: the place farther than Los Valles is how we describe it when people ask… “despues de Zambrano, mas larga de Los Valles.”

It feels different coming back, maybe because some things are more new again, maybe because the dynamic is so different with only us, one other volunteer and 11 students on campus. Also, Sicily’s mobility and development have changed so much in the last month. She can walk very well now and the rocks and cement are not as intimidating as we thought they might be, yay! She loves going for walks to see the cows and horses and she is always “mooing” at the cows :) Spending the days exploring the outdoors and Honduran culture with my two little girls is a gift I know I will look back
upon with awe.

The first few nights were so cold but since then, the weather has been hot during the day and comfortable at night. The good thing about cold nights is that there are no mosquitos, I think because they can’t survive.  Ira is enjoying the responsibility and purpose demanded by the job of managing everything at Leadership Center. The girls and I love helping him, working on other projects around campus and visiting neighbors. Olivia, Sicily and I have been taking care of the gardens….watering the vegetables always turns into sprinkler and water play time and I usually end up with two, wet, muddy, giggly girls. Sometimes the girls play in the sandbox and tree fort while I clear land of prickly brambles and collect firewood for burning garbage and cooking. We do a lot of walking…often to the neighbor’s to buy beans and quajada (sp?) (sort of like cheese, but different).

Since we returned, we have been visiting a family with three little girls. It is about a 20 minute walk across the river and up the side of a mountain. Currently the mom is working picking coffee up on the mountain so she is only home to care for the kids on Saturdays. The father cares for the girls some but often he is out planting in the fields or running errands. The oldest, Nelly, is 11 and she cooks and cares for her little sisters a lot. She is looking forward to returning to the elementary school in February, it seems like her childhood has been pushed aside by the expectations of her in the home. She says she likes helping her family but she would like to go to high school someday and does not wish to have any children of her own. We will try to help her and play with the three of them as much as we can at least until their mother finishes her job at the end of January and is home more. It will be fun for us to go back to helping at the elementary school when it starts up again too. Thank you to everyone who has sent materials for the elementary school and for the college!

On a completely different note, our neighbor Erlinda and her daughter, Margarita, taught Olivia and I how to make quajada (sp?) today. We put our hands in this huge bucket of cows milk and pulled out the cheese-like substance and squeezed most of the liquid out then mixed it with salt and squished it around. It felt so gross but I really wanted to help so I sucked it up, haha. It was worth it because we had quite a few laughs and Erlinda let us bring some of the quajada home for dinner. While we were there, Olivia and Sicily danced to the music on her radio and they discovered four baby kittens in their corn storage house! They were sooo cute, I really wanted to take one home but they are not old enough to leave their mama yet. I wonder if I can get a flea and tick collar somewhere here so we can bring one home…hint hint Erlinda :) Olivia is wondering how much they cost hehe

Overall our first week and a half back has been really good. The improvements in relationships between the students show their growth in character and have continued to make our community more tight-knit and happy as a whole. There has also been a noticeable leap in their academic abilities. Ira and I have been greatly encouraged by all the positive changes we see among the students.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


This blog was created for The Leadership Center in Honduras, a small university supported by Art For Humanity ( to train and educate poor women in Honduras. This blog will be regularly updated and maintained by the students, volunteers, and staff members of The Leadership Center.

The Leadership Center began operating in 2011 as a means to educate and train young Honduran women to be the future leaders of their country, and to end the continual cycle of poverty that currently makes Honduras the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The leaders of The Leadership Center believe that education is one of the most powerful methods of providing sustainable change to an impoverished community or country. It is through education that young women in Honduras will be empowered to inspire and initiate change.

The mission of The Leadership Center is to graduate young women of integrity who will become successful leaders in a wide variety of professional careers. This is accomplished by providing high quality education and practical leadership opportunities, thus enabling every graduate to be well prepared as a future leader in Honduras. Additionally, The Leadership Center only accepts students from poor families who would otherwise be unable to obtain an education after graduating high school. It is a foundational belief of the Center that everyone has the right to an education, not only those from elite families.

Every teacher at The Leadership Center is an educated and trained volunteer who is passionate about the mission of the school. As the Center strives to provide every student with a well-rounded education, having a wide variety of volunteers is important to achieve the desired results. With an incredible student-to-teacher ratio of 4:1, every student is given the opportunity to spend an ample amount of one-on-one time with teachers. This allows students the opportunity to graduate in less time than the average university in Honduras.

To date, The Leadership Center has accepted two cohorts of students and are planning to accept a third in early 2012. The first students are scheduled to graduate in 2013. The current students have learned from a wide variety of volunteers, including men and women from diverse academic backgrounds. While the focus of the Center is to teach English, Leadership, and Business, the students have also learned history, speech, sociology, psychology, math, music, and much more.

The leaders of The Leadership Center are dedicated to providing the best education for every student, and thus are regularly evaluating the curriculum and educational methods we use. The Center is in a constant state of improvement in order to constantly provide quality education. We have no doubt that the opportunities for The Leadership Center and for our future graduating students are endless.