Teachenglishcaribbean is pleased to interview Dawnelle Clarke who was a Missionary in Honduras. We talk about her experiences, challenges and responsibilities in Honduras.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica and I grew up in Old Harbour. I attended Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville. I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Studies with an emphasis in Marketing in 2007.
Where were you living and how did you get there?
I lived in Comayagua, Honduras for almost one year. I applied to be a missionary teacher through the Adventist Volunteer Service website. I had no intention of choosing to go to Honduras but my original choices did not work out. After much disappointment I made up my mind to go to a Latin American country although my heart was set on Asia.
What did you do in Honduras?
As a missionary teacher in Honduras I had a lot of responsibility. I taught grades 5 through 10 and it was quite a challenge. I had to get to know 11 different sets of students. The class sizes ranged from 15-25. I taught Bible, Literature and Economics. I was also in charge of monthly chapel services for over 100 students. Missionaries were responsible for supporting the youth church which held services in Spanish.
Describe the roles you played in Honduras.
At school I was responsible for lesson planning, creating exams, supporting school functions and meeting with parents. Although my purpose was to teach in English I still had to learn Spanish to communicate effectively with parents and staff. At church I participated in Sabbath School, sang special music and attended church activities like visiting a children’s home. I also gave a financial lecture as part of a Women’s Ministries certification course.
Are the Honduran and Jamaican cultures similar?
The Honduran culture is very similar to the Jamaican culture. The people are very friendly and caring. They welcomed me with open arms and treated me like family. They are also very laid back like us. If a meeting is to be held at any given time you can be sure it will start late. Their food is different but you will find things like breadfruit, sweetsop, sorrel and guinep. They are not big on spicy food but they do enjoy jerk chicken—at least those who got to try it.
What challenges did you experience living in Honduras as a black woman?
Surprisingly, I did not experience any challenges as a black woman in Honduras. I was located in the central region of the country where few blacks live. Many Hondurans were fascinated by me especially by my natural hair. At school the students would go crazy when I would wear my hair in an afro. They could not stop touching it. They were intrigued by the many different styles I could do with my hair. Since Hondurans have native blacks I could pass for Honduran. A few times people assumed I was from the one of the islands of Honduras. It is there many of the Garifuna (the black population) reside.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In the next five years I hope to have completed a Master’s Degree. I enjoy traveling and learning about different cultures so I see myself living overseas but owning a home in Jamaica. I also see myself speaking three languages but at this point I am not sure what the third language will be. I put my future in God’s hands and with His leading I am sure I will achieve what I set out to.