If you travel far enough east along the North Caribbean coast of Honduras, past the port city of La Ceiba, you will come upon a long, winding dirt road. Should you keep traveling on this road for the next half hour or so, you will quickly be in awe of the lush mountain beauty, struggle through the rush hour ‘traffic’ of wandering cows, donkeys, and horses in addition to developing a completely new perspective on what constitutes as a big pothole.
Eventually, on a hill overlooking the sea, you will come to the entrance of Loma de Luz, a Christian Missionary Hospital started by the Cornerstone Foundation in 2003. Part of the ministry (a little further up the bumpy dirt road) is Casa Santuario and El Camino Bilingual School. Located in Balfate, Colón, this region was extremely underdeveloped in terms of medical care and education when construction on Loma de Luz began. In fact, as some of the first missionaries arrived and placed their children in the surrounding public schools, they quickly realized the lack of educational resources available and formed the humble beginnings of what is now known as El Camino Bilingual School.
The Little School That Grew
Fast forward almost two decades later and Loma de Luz is a full-service hospital attending to over 25,000 patients a year, with many having traveled for days to reach quality and affordable medical care. El Camino Bilingual School in its first form was created in 2004 under a thatch roof, one room makeshift schoolhouse, providing homeschooling education for the on-site missionary children as well as a score of local, gifted Honduran children. The school, concept, and the number of students continued to expand until 2011 when El Camino began its current configuration of beginning their educational program for local children at the kindergarten level. A new school was built and today teaches classes from pre-kindergarten to the 6th grade. El Camino School has an ambitious goal of adding an additional grade level for every school year with hopes of eventually being able to educate students through to the end of high school.
Currently, there is a desperate need for qualified teachers and paraprofessionals for the 2019/2020 school year. Since El Camino Bilingual School was founded, it continues to set a new standard for educational excellence in the region. The children taught at El Camino School will eventually become a new generation of Honduran leaders, improving their local communities and fostering positive change around them. This diligent undertaking has suffered additional stress each year as staffing resources get stretched further as the number of grades taught and students increase.
Volunteer Teaching in Honduras
If you are a recent graduate, mid-career or retired teacher, volunteer teaching in Honduras may be an opportunity that you have never even considered. Or, perhaps recently you have begun to feel a calling to serve and help others. International volunteering is something that many people flirt with the idea of, but only a small percentage actually take the plunge and commit. Ask anyone who has and you will hear passionate stories about how incredibly life-changing and profound their experience was. For anyone wanting to make a difference inspiring, educating and spiritually growing children in Honduras while strengthening their own faith, serving at Loma de Luz could be the perfect opportunity.
Stay tuned for Part’s II and beyond, where we ask teachers of El Camino Bilingual School questions about how they decided to come serve and their experience in the mission field.