Classroom Connections

Our group split in two today: 8 went to the church site and 6 to the school. Lee and I were among those who went to the school.

The Escuela Francisco Morazán in the community of San Rafael is across the river and up a mountain on the way to a coffee plantation opposite Copan. The ride from town to school is on a road that reminds me of snowmobile trails in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: steep, rocky, full of gullies and washouts: passable, but not for lightweight vehicles or for the faint of heart. We rode up in the back of a pickup truck, jouncing and bouncing through beautiful forest and looking down on some amazing views of the valley.

We were carrying numerous supplies for the making of valentines. St Valentine’s Day is the 14th, and we thought it would be fun to help the kids make some valentine greetings in advance of the day. The project was a big hit. The candies in the valentines didn’t hurt, either.

Not all of us went on valentine duty. The school has a computer lab as well, for the use of the secondary level students who come in the afternoon. Several of the computers had been acting up, and the leaders of the school has been told there was some computer experience represented in our group. So while the primary students were in session in the morning, Pete Hickman and I were put to work on the computers. The machines were old by our standards, running Windows 95, and of course the systems were set for Spanish. Trying to troubleshoot old systems in a language I don’t really read was a stretch! But it is amazing how much patience, memory, and educated guessing can accomplish. By lunch we had determined that three monitors were bad, fixed some outdated software, and installed new antivirus programs on several machines. We also learned a few things about how some judicious donations of computer equipment could improve their classroom work immensely.

Shortly after lunch, as I ducked in the computer classroom to retrieve my backpack, I noticed a couple of students gathered at a computer that hadn’t been working that morning, researching the Zika virus for a class project. It felt kind of good to see so direct an effect of the work I contributed!

The computers are located in a classroom built by donations from our mission group and supporters. It is named the Dennis Case classroom.

During some English language conversation exercise in the afternoon, Lee told the students about Dennis, how he’d been a teacher all his life, and how he’d be proud of their classroom and proud of them.

We make amazing connections in this mission work. Sometimes the connections are as amusing as trying to figure out each other’s words in English and Spanish and dissolving in laughter when we finally get them right. Sometimes the connections are emotional and spiritual between the near and the far and the living and the dead. Sometimes the connections are as literal as getting a computer to connect to the internet, to bring information and research into eager students’ reach. But all the connections help us make more of the lives we live and we share in this world.