In the early summer of 2003, I saw an ad in our Reformed Church Magazine that said an elementary teacher was urgently needed in Honduras. I was an elementary teacher.
I went into my husband’s office and said, “Would you like to go to Honduras?”
I wanted to go and gently persuaded and bribed Richard to agree. We left Syracuse on October 1 at six in the morning and arrived inHonduras’s third largest city, Le Ceiba (which is the name of a tree), about five in the afternoon. The airport there was closing and the person we expected to pick us up had not arrived. Finally, a kind taxi driver, who knew our contact, took us to her house and then us to the Hotel Paris in center city.
We’d left Syracuse on a large jet and after three plane changes, arrived on a thirty passenger plane. Two mornings later we left LaCeiba on an eighteen passenger plane that was half filled is boxes and cases of things. We made an intermittent stop on a grassy field after buzzing it to make sure there were no cattle in the way. We were invited to get off the plane, while they unloaded stuff. Back on the plane we landed a short time later in Ahuas. We were greeted by one of the two doctors of the hospital.
As Richard stepped from the plane it was into a cowflop. Dr. Gerard walked us to our new home a hundred yards from the airport. Other men from the hospital compound had been there and grabbed our suitcases for us.
Our house and the doctors’ home formed a triangle with about fifty-foot sides. At ten in the morning the heat was already building to be brought down later in the afternoon with a sudden shower.
The hospital is a mission of the Moravian church and the Reformed Church in America. I was there to teach the doctors’ son. Our home had a classroom, kitchen, dining area, living room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a wonderful screened porch the full length of its front. Sufficient, yes. Luxurious, no.
Looking across from the hospital were several cabins where relatives of patients stayed to care for them, such as providing the patients’ meals.
Two four-passenger airplanes flew up to twenty flights a day bringing and taking to and from the hospital. Both pilots were missionaries and assisted by local mechanics.
I taught three children, Peter and Hazel in first grade, and Toby in kindergarten. Having taught first grade seven years, I designed my own materials using whatever books were available. When six months had passed, Peter and Hazel could read, write, and do required math. Toby, whose parents were Norwegian missionaries, had learned all the English sounds and was well on his way to be a reader in English, as well as Norwegian.