This morning we visited the Jungle School sponsored by Helping Honduras Kids. You can find pictures of the school at http://www.helpinghonduraskids.org/. Helping Honduras Kids also sponsors the orphanage we visit each afternoon, so if was fun to see some of the children in another setting. The Jungle School is one of a few free schools in this area. While many public schools provide basic eduction, in order to attend, the students must purchase a uniform to wear to school, the school materials and pay what to us would be a small fee, but which, for the poor of Honduras is too much to imagine. This school, on the other hand, provides everything for the students -- uniforms, shoes, books, backpacks and a hearty meal -- for some of the children their only regular meal each day.
In addition to the 22 students who come from the orphanage, another 77 students come from the surrounding jungle, some of them walking for one and a half hours down the mountain and another two hours up the mountain in order to attend. When the days are shorter in the winter, some of the students are late to school. They cannot start out early enough to get to school because the jungle supports jaguar who hunt at night, so they have to wait for daylight to start out. We wondered what children in the US could say, "I¨m sorry, I´m late because I had to avoid the jaguars!!"
At the school, meals are prepared on an open fire. You cannot begin to imagine how hot it is in the kitchen area when you add that heat to the ambient air temperature.
After a tour of the school, some of us took the opportunity to hike down to the river for a swim which proved very refreshing. Others waited at the top of the hill enjoying the cooler jungle weather. We returned to La Ceiba in time for lunch with our families (which is really the main meal here). Since the school at the dump is closed today, we are all off to the orphanage this afternoon to visit the children, play with them, read to them and help them with their homework.