Honduras: The Dr. Stephen Youngberg Technical Vocational School goes to Paraguay

or: What first time travelers took away from our annual “Education that pays for itself” conference

Yes, it is this time a year again…not only time to dress up for Halloween, but also to jump on a plane and take part in the Annual Teach a Man to Fish conference; after last year’s “Education that pays for itself” conference had brought together people in Tanzania, the 2013 edition was launched last week in Paraguay.


When Fundación Paraguaya gave us the happy news that they would invite 2 participants from the Dr. Stephen Youngberg Technical Vocational School, the excitement was doubled.

Why? Well, neither of the 2 teachers that we were about to send had ever been on a plane before.

So after getting passports for Gricelda (Teacher and Production Manager in Sewing and Tailoring) and Henry (Teacher and Production Manager in Carpentry and Cabinetmaking), preparing them mentally for a flight with 5hours stopover in Panamá and a late arrival in Asunción, off they went through security at San Pedro Sula airport, to return a week later full of new experiences and stories to share with their colleagues.

          Here you can see Henry and Gricelda (at the left) at last year's graduation


The days filled with talks and workshops, they never felt bored and enjoyed it a lot to hear experiences from other schools all over the world. They would even have liked to have more time in the workshops!

Putting down the Honduran flag









Henry was particularly impressed by a lady from India who was telling about her numerous challenges at her school, which was followed by the pledge of a wave of other participants to help her in whatever needed. Both Henry and Gricelda, would have liked to help, but as they say themselves: “We realised how necessary it is to speak English.”.


Speaking in front of that many people was difficult for them at the beginning, but here you can see that Gricelda and Henry did get used to it.

Even if they could not talk to the lady due to the language barrier, they learned that you don’t necessarily have to speak the same language to be able to communicate. With Tanzanian participants, who also stayed on to get to know the San Francisco Agricultural School after the end of the conference, gestures replaced words: “Well, we had to signal a lot and try to make ourselves understood, but it worked out very well in the end.”


Other things that impressed them were:

  • The Food: “There was meat all week long! It was very nice and there was rice, but we did miss our tortillas and beans!” (Spoken like true Central Americans…In most households tortillas and beans are served at least twice a day)
  • The student discipline: “They know very well what task they have to do and why they have to do it…and if they don’t fulfil their duties, they will have to do some extra work"
    Discipline, Gricelda and Henry feel, is more difficult to attain in a day school than in a boarding school, because you only have limited influence on students in a day school. The idea of responding to rule breakers with extra work, though, could be used here in Honduras too.


Overall, Gricelda has a great way of summing up the impression they brought back from their first ever travel:

“It showed us that not everything is simply great (referring to the projects), it requires a lot of work to get there (to financial self-sufficiency).”


Thank you to Fundación Paraguay for the pictures, the hosting and for having invited Gricelda and Henry!

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