Awesomness of Cayos Cochinos:
-Just Dance with the 11th grade girls
-Sharing a room with 3 - 14 year olds and all that entails
-Crystal clear water
-Riding a tiny boat in the ocean waves
-Huge beetles & a Tarantula
-Monkeys and Crocs
-Tipico almost every meal - beans, eggs, tortillas, platanos
-Expresso Americano every morning so help us function
-Watching Disney Channel with the girls in my room
Pretty much this was the best trip ever! Most of the students were great & I think they also had a good time. Cue the play by play....
Up at 3:15am to get on the bus full of students. Our first stop was Lancetilla, a botanical garden. Don't get your hopes too high, because remember, I live in Honduras. Apparently, this is the 2nd largest botanical gardens in the world. Unfortunately, they haven't taken very good care of it and it seemed like all the trees were dead. The park could have been very nice, because there were trees from all around the world, but they were being taken over by the crazy plants that take over trees. After a talk & tour, we headed out to Cuero & Salado (this means leather and salty). We rode a train (made by the United Fruit Company) from one little town to the other to have lunch, hear a little talk & go on a cool boat ride in a river. It was a little fishing community with this random museum thing but it was cool, this lady made us lunch out of her little tiki house. Then we got on the lanchas (boats) and on the boat ride we saw some animals, like monkeys, turtles, crocodiles, and bats. Stephanie and I had the pleasure to ride with the 9th grade girls, which are just plain out hysterical so we had many laughs - one of which where we saw these birds and the tour guide explained how the dad takes care of all the babies, not the mom - so one of the kids yells out "So its like TEEN DAD instead of teen mom!!" haha, good one.
After Cuero y Salado we went to our hotel in La Cieba. That night we had some awesome worship together outside by the pool, played in the pool and played Just Dance- a super fun game for the Wii. YES- the girls (the 11th graders) brought a Wii with them! The english teachers were actually in charge of devotional every night because they like how we lead devotional because we try to make it interactive and exciting for them - so we were anxious to see how it would go. One of the 11th graders brought his guitar and lead us in worship every night and the kids really enjoyed worshipping together, it was the first time I noticed that most of them were really into it and singing loud and didn't want to stop. It was encouraging.
Up at 5:00am, yes, that is right, my girls got up at 5am to start getting ready. I rolled over around 6am
After our typical breakfast, we went to Sambo Creek, where we caught a lancha to Cayos Cochinos. These are little boats that carry people across the ocean...craziness, yes. The ride there wasn't too bad. We arrived at the first island where there was a visitor center and they were also taping a French reality, survivor type show. After a short talk we were back on the boat to tour the island and go to another island. Some kids snorkeled, while others just played on the beach. I was in charge of the snorkling adventure which I was a little nervous about because some of our kids aren't great swimmers and it was their first time. So, Josh and I only took 12 out to the reef, but it ended up being okay - only one minor injury with fire corral. The kids were so excited/scared/nervous that they didn't do much snorkling just because of the excitement they kept wanting to talk adn take off their masks, haha, but it was over all very fun, especially with Josh's new underwater camera!! Then we got back to the island and of course, then we started randomly hiking up through the trees on this island on a "snake walk" where we found about 5 wild snakes - and the last one we found, the guide took it off the tree and started putting it around our student's necks!! Steph was freaking out, but I understand her fear now after we visited the bug museum, tell you about that later... fun time!
For lunch, we headed to another small island that was just covered in these tiki huts. There was only one bathroom on the whole island and it had a bucket in it for you to go fill up with ocean water to bring back and flush the toilet! haha. We ate some seriously fried fish with crazy teeth that was pretty good. The kids played at the beach a little more & and talked/played with the little local island kids and then we loaded back up on the lancha for the exciting ride back. This ride was a little more bumpy and we almost took on water a few times. Luckily we made it safely without any problems.
That evening we had a great devotional with the kids about how Satan tempts us with so many things, things we don't even notice. We broke up into discussion groups and talked about some struggles and worked on being aware of things we struggle with so when Satan tempts us we are prepared. Again, the worship was great and the kids kept wanting us to sing more and more, which was cool because it cut into their free time, so they really wanted to.
Again, up around 5:45am getting ready for another fun-filled day of adventure and a little danger! haha. We drove half way up a mountain to an area called Pico Bonito where we thought we would be doing a nice little nature hike. The students were encouraged to bring/buy water at the lodge before we left... we thought they had. So the first part of the hike we have to cross this SHAKY bridge built over the rushing river below and then started heading straight up this mountain. I sware it was about 10 minutes into the what would be a 3.5 hour hike (yeah) the 9th grade girls started dying, literally I think they thought they were dying and begging for water because none of them had brought ANY. I don't think they have ever done anything this physically demanding and it was just a hike. Then the complaints began, they complained for a straight 2 hours, at times, I was having to stop with them because they were "seeing double everything Miss!" At one point they asked me to call and get a helicopter to fly them out or to just leave them there to die alone. At that point I told them to start praying because the chances of Jesus coming back was better than either of those choices, haha. Amongst their hilarious comments about dying here are some other ones I heard "I just want Edward to come get me", "Miss, no pictures, i don't want no one to see me this way", "I hope Jacob is waiting for me at the waterfall." Finally, we made it up to the waterfall after, at times, have to carry the girls in the back through some parts. They saw it was worth it in the end and completely changed their attitudes, like I had talked with them about, and had a great hike on the way back and even stayed near the front of the group! We talked a lot on that hike about CHOOSING your attitude and how you are in control of it and your emotions, and if you choose to complain and be lazy then it was going to be a terrible time, so I was very happy to see them make that change on the way back, it was a much better hike. It was a pretty physically demanding 3.5 hour hike straight up the mountain to this amazing waterfall, but all of our kids survived it, and even our director and some of the spanish teachers, which was very impressive!
After the hike, we went up to this neat place in the mountains to eat lunch where we had some amazing carne asada and some time to relax after the hike. We actually spent more time than planned on the hike, so we decided not to go to the beach and just go back to the hotel for some R and R. The kids got some extra pool time and we got to walk around a bit outside the hotel so it was fun. That night we had another great devotional where Candance and I shared some personal testimony about things we struggled with in high school that they were probably struggling with and how we can be examples to other people and how you can't live two lives as a Christian - it was good and the kids responded well and some of them even talked to me about it after devotional so it was good.
Our last day unfortunately, we got up loaded up all of our bags and jumped back on the bus. We stopped on the way out at this Butterfly Museum, which really was a room in the back of this man's house where he has collected all these insects, beetles, moths, butterflies, spiders, praying mantis', scorpions, and more I didnt' even know existed. After his little talk he was passing the tarantula around to hands for pictures and one of the kids was like MISS do it do it and grabbed my hand and pushed it up towards the tarantula, and honestly my heart started beating out of my chest and I just couldnt' do it!!!!! I had NO IDEA I was so terrified of spiders/bugs. Then they wanted me to hold this giant beetle thing, it was as big as a baseball, and there was no way I was holding that thing - I was terrified. So I discovered my great fear of insects and spiders at this place and I never could get up the courage to hold the tarantula - the pic is a fake one. Some of the bugs, I had no idea they could even grow to that size, some were 12 inches long!! But it was cool, the kids actually really enjoyed it and liked getting to see all the diff. bugs. So that was our last little adventure together, then we headed back to sigwa, only after stopping at a mall about half way for lunch and a little more free time.
It was an AMAZING trip and I loved getting to know the kids better. We had so much fun laughing with them and at them and sharing the experience with them. We are already planning a trip back after school with all the teachers to stay on the little tiki hut island, because you can stay there with the locals for $4 per night! Enjoy the photos!