Honduras cancelled classes on March 12th and it’s hard to believe how quickly 3 months will soon have passed. At that point we had no idea our school and offices would stay eerily quiet for so long. While in the US the school year was ending, in Honduras it had just begun a month before. For our CREE team 2019 was primarily a reinforcement year. Which meant that in 2020 after a successful year of support we were starting an expansion year. We had also received so much great and useful feedback in 2019 from teachers on making our channel more adaptable to their methodology, quickly expanding our list of dreams and aspirations for it.
Our team continues to see the value and benefit of creating these strong ties in our 'backyard'...We wouldn't find ourselves challenged every day...
During a typical school year, we keep busy with our programs that range from bilingual education to robotics, increased literacy to Kolibri – always with intermittent work surges on our CREE Kolibri channel. And the months that school is out, amidst the holiday season, we go full drive into our list to upgrade the channel and make it more interactive and wholesome. Once school gears up, we put everything on pause once more.
However, our current predicament has catapulted us back to doing most of our work from a computer. Although this time separated by many miles instead of just an office wall. Our afternoon coffee breaks happen individually now, one amongst the dense Camaca forest, one in the refreshing hillside of Malpaso, another accompanying the howling wind between Yamaranguila’s trees and a last from a hidden apartment near Chicago. You can imagine how much we miss our shared cookie stash… and our coworkers of course. We continue having team meetings where we share our week’s highs and lows and put our heads together to figure out what CAN we do for our programs in these moments.
As teachers are also spread out with varying internet access, we find them equally struggling to communicate with students. We’ve worked with two of our STAR teachers interested in sending Khan videos through WhatsApp, dedicated to continue teaching. We’ve revisited that dreams list I talked about. Our team is working on sorting books by grade level from the libraries we compiled in Kolibri with support from the U.S. Embassy. We have created curriculum mapping for the content we acquired during Learning Equality’s visit, with next steps to find more resources. We have adapted quizzes from textbooks to allow for an interactive student and attractive teacher resource. Perhaps our biggest accomplishment has been loading half a school year’s content onto grant tablets and finding a way to get them to 60 scholarship and bilingual track students. Parents have been willing to come, often on their free travel day, which happens once every ten days, across their municipalities to receive equipment that they know will benefit their student (more details to come in our next blog).
Earlier this month I spoke with another organization in Chile interested in adopting Kolibri and in doing so I realized how much our team has grown in just a few years, with the help of current and past team members. In the process we’ve equally learned about the communities and have encouraged them to think beyond our program – because ultimately that is our goal. To create a group of educators, students and community members who are thinking beyond what we provide in the moment and towards how it can open channels of opportunities to create a culture of creators, thinkers and learners.
Our team continues to see the value and benefit of creating these strong ties in our "backyard" because without the willingness of our academic partners and programs we wouldn’t have had such an extensive hopes and dreams list to work on. We wouldn’t find ourselves challenged every day to assist the home learning nor would we have been able to deploy our first group of grant tablets in these difficult times. We also appreciate our organization leaders for continuing to trust the execution of their ideas in our hands. We appreciate our grant organization, Learning Equality, for understanding some of our limitations and supporting the creation of our library channels. We appreciate donors who continue giving even in difficult times because your hope for an improved situation is helping us keep hope too. We appreciate each of our team members for continuing to stay motivated even though we miss seeing teachers and students. Most of all, we appreciate each and every day we are given to live.