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Tales that transcend language, place, and time (Jaele, Honduras Volunteer 23/24) 

Blog Article: Tales that transcend language, place, and time (Jaele, Honduras Volunteer 23/24) 

I was born in Stockholm, Sweden, where World Storytelling Day originated. In school, as well as at home, storytelling and reading was a huge part of my upbringing. My parents would take turns every night to read to me and my brother. With mum we’d read Swedish books like ‘Pippi Longstocking’ by Astrid Lindgren. With my dad, I remember reading ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, ‘Cat in the Hat’, and all the Roald Dahl books, many of which we’ve been using in the primary grades here. Seeing our students read some of the same books I used to read as a child is really wholesome. It’s particularly great to see them enjoy reading so much, despite the fact it’s in a language they don’t fully understand yet. I have also noticed that during reading the kids are more engaged and focused on the lesson than most other classes, which goes to show that having a playful element in the lessons really does help them learn, and teaching through storytelling is a powerful strategy. 

As I grew up in a bilingual home, I had the advantage of learning and speaking English from a very young age whilst in Sweden. Being able to speak English in a non-English speaking country is something I’ve always been grateful for, but being able to provide our students here in La Union with the same opportunity has been so rewarding. Just like my school in Stockholm, English is introduced first thing in kindergarten for the children at ALCS, with every lesson except Spanish and Social Studies being taught in English. Learning English through storytelling here has been so gratifying, especially as the kids are so keen to learn! I think working with children is something that will always have the same rewarding qualities, no matter what continent you find yourself on. 

Having lived in two different countries growing up, moving to Honduras as a Project Trust Volunteer marks my third time being introduced and integrated to a new culture. It’s been very interesting to notice the differences of my two homes, Sweden and England, compared to Honduras but what has been most telling is seeing how some things don’t change at all, being on the other side of the world. 

(Pictured Left: Jaele’s painting of her commute to work)

Something that both my partner Clemmie and I have realised is that kids will always be kids, no matter where in the world you are. The only difference I’ve seen between children in the UK, Sweden, and Honduras, is that they speak different languages and communicate their stories in different ways. Our students are always full of energy, curious, impatient, constantly giving out hugs left, right, and centre. They like to ask, “how old are you?”, “what’s your favourite colour?” and of course, “do you have a boyfriend?”. Storytelling has made us feel so much more connected with the community in La Union and finding similarities makes the fact we are so far away from home a lot easier.

Find out more about what it’s like to Volunteer in Honduras here.

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