HONDURAS DAY 2

Hola! For those of you not my friend on Facebook, here are a couple of easy links to my iPhone albums day 1 and day 2.  I’ve also been taking pictures with Bruce’s HD digital camera: HD album, so you can creep all the pics that I’ve put up! Those of you who are on Facebook, check out and “like” The Visionaries home page— they’re pretty cool people :) This post is bombarded with pictures. I just want you all to actually SEE how beautiful this place is!

So far this trip, 3:40 a.m. is the go-to wake-up time! When there’s something exciting going on, I’m definitely a happy morning person. And you’ll probably agree a full day of filming at U of Zamorano is something to look forward to =) However, over the past two nights, only nine hours of sleep is bound to catch up with me sooner or later! I’m pretending that it’s going to be later– gotta keep on with my “mind over matter” mantra. Anyways, everybody in our lovely little guest house was up a full two hours before the Honduran sunrise. Swift showers all around followed by brewing coffee (none for me, thanks) and snacking on toast with Mango jam! We clambered into our personal bus/taxi with loads of gear and drove to the other side of campus to the cows. I’m really not a fan of these big animals and their moo-ing and pooping glory (although I love a good glass of freezing skim milk), but here’s some pics from our “fragrant” morning. I’d also appreciate a loud round of virtual applause for not wiping out in the muck.

Once finished with the cows, we went out to the road for some bike shots. Here’s me being all film-tastic and getting in on the action:

We headed over to where some students were “learning by doing” (one of Zamorano’s four pillars of learning) in the field. Each student gets a plot of land to grow whatever they choose. After taking care of the plants through the season, they are free to sell their harvest! How awesome!

Gorgeous landscape on campus

I love this campus.

After being up for 4 hours already, by 7:30 it was time for breakfast round two, catered by one of the cafeterias on campus: eggs, cheese, bacon-ish, beans, tortilla, fried platanos. Yum!

We then interviewed the president of this university! A cool picture from the shoot is currently unavailable, but will be at some point. My job during the interview was to keep the mesh light reflector from blowing in the wind and messing up the lighting angles. I’m sort of acting as the helper to the Visionaries crew, doing whatever they need, and I couldn’t be happier.

We spent the afternoon traveling by Jeep up the nearby Uyuca Mountain, a biological reserve, to get shots of scenery, learn about forestry expeditions students do, and interview some people who live on the mountain. In the interview with our guide from Colorado who is a passionate associate professor at Zamorano and has traveled extensively, I learned a lot about the work students do. In certain classes, they collect data from plants, while others helped rebuilt the forest after bugs attacked certain trees. I know that sounds simple, but he explained it so impressively– it’s just neat that students are physically active in nature and the community around their school (buzz word?: cloud forest).

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Finally a picture of the crew =) !
Right to left: Bruce (Visionaries camera), Jody (Visionaries producer), me (production assistant), Lit (Visionaries audio), Mary Ellen (US Zamorano rep.)

We’ve been doing interviews for the documentary with a male senior student from Ecuador, and a female student from Guatemala.  Both of them are so friendly, like all the students on campus :)  And, yes, we’re obviously new Facebook friends!  Everyone appreciates the little Spanish that I know, but I’m enjoying being able to listen and follow along.

Seeing and learning about all the students at Zamorano, both Honduran and international is such an amazing experience.  Their college education is so different than mine; I’m both jealous and fortunate.  More reflections to come… For now, a bit of sleep!

In Honduras Day #1

Ahh, hello Honduras!!  =)  Can you believe it!?  Jody, Lit and Bruce (two Visionaries crew members), Mary Ellen (a US Zamorano rep.) and I had a heck of a travel day, but my excitement is through the roof; I’m just so happy to be here in the middle of the filming action experiencing it all!

Classic plane shot

Picture on campus!

Here’s some background info: Jody and I drove from Springfield to Boston yesterday evening.  After dinner, we caught a short but sweet 5.5 hours of sleep.  Aside from the fact that rain started showering in through a gap between the hotel wall and our room’s window, pounding onto the tin radiator in the middle of the night, we had no problems (lol but seriously).  Today, we were up at 3:40 a.m., at the airport at 5 after minor route recalculations, boarded by 6:30, and finally took off around 8:15.  This 1.5-hour delay cut our time a bit close for our connection from Miami to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, but with a bit of hustle, we made it in plenty of time.  With the two-hour time difference, we landed at about 12:40 p.m. and were taken care of through customs by Zamorano representatives, which put us all at ease.  A 40-minute bus/taxi ride through different sections of the city brought us out into more country to the University of Zamorano.

This is my first time visiting Central America, and first time in any developing country.  It was an experience driving through poverty on the outskirts of the capital city, while beautiful mountains of trees surrounded our dark green VW minivan.  Pepsi, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, and 7UP signs were cardboard blurs as we wove in and out of some tight traffic.  Small children ran barefoot on gravely roads carrying fruit, probably to their family’s roadside stand.  Sounds of Spanish permeated the air we breathed as we drove to our destination, the University of Zamorano…

Our first look at an outdoor “Learning-by-Doing” classroom

Once on campus, we had a late lunch and went out touring and exploring campus.  I’m not exaggerating one bit when I’m telling you this campus is absolutely beautiful.  What we’ve seen so far consists of mostly one- or two-story buildings of very pretty stone with really nice dark woodwork.  The campus’s caretakers look after their lawn, flowers, etc. just like ours at Springfield.  They also abide by the unspoken “don’t cut corners or walk on the grass” rule that we do.

“Teach the youth of today, so we can feed the world of tomorrow” (or something to that degree)! Love it!!!

It looks as if our schedule for the rest of our time here is jam-packed!!  I’m so excited for what lies ahead :)  Here’s a shot of the sky we enjoyed tonite:

Thanks again to everybody following!!  More news and updates to come =)

Honduras Here We Come!

Last post I casually mentioned that I’m going to Honduras this week!  Yup, no joke.  Here’s a little background info:

  • One weekend in July, Erin and I were at the Outdoor Nation conference in Boston, when I received a message from my past professor Jody Santos.  I’d taken a Social Justice Documentary course with her as a sophomore in spring of 2011.  Working with my film partner, Josh Ernst, we created a pretty polished 30 minute movie about The Gray House, an awesome non-profit after-school program for kids in the city of Springfield (to learn more, click here).  Jody and I got along great throughout the successful semester and have stayed in touch on campus ever since.
  • Apparently, her film crew for PBS’s documentary series The Visionaries was in need of an organized production assistant, and somehow my name got thrown into the mix.  I said yes!  The documentary is focusing on the private international university in Honduras called Zamorano.  Zamorano is an agricultural university with four main programs of study: science and production, food science and technology, agribusiness management, and environmental sciences.
  • Their entire faculty, staff, and student populations live on campus, which probably makes for an interesting campus community.  I look forward to talking with and learning more about the school from some of the university students and staff.
  • I don’t know exactly what to expect on this adventure, but I’m indescribably excited to meet and work with Jody and the film crew, along with all the people on Zamorano’s campus!  Here’s to a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity in the next 5 days =)

  • Thank you to everybody on campus and at home who are my support system!  I’m so grateful to have an awesome family and a circle of lovely, smart, and flexible friends and professors at Springfield College,  who are just as excited for me as I am, and who wish me an enjoyable, successful trip and learning experience.  The pep talks, well wishes, advice, and laughs mean more than I sometimes show, but they are priceless to me.
  • FYI, we should have WiFi at our accommodations, so I’m aiming to post once we’re settled :)  I’m excited to share my experiences with all of you!
  • Are you on Twitter?  Follow me at my new name, @kbarsevich  (updates are also on the right sidebar).

BACKpack in Action

A morning breeze waltzes through the open window, rustling a pile of papers, articles, and memos strewn on the desk.  The perfectly organized day planner lies open, pages fluttering.  Neon Post-It note lists of varying length and category cling for extra surface area to write on.  Desk drawers are filled with a laptop, heaps of scrapbook paper, textbooks, fun books, folders, and binders.  The room’s white concrete walls are now decorated with shining purple Christmas lights, pictures of friends, family, and travels, along with cheap wall stickers.  What parts of the floor not being used for furniture or the fuzzy rug hold shoes, more books, and a well-worn backpack.  The inhabitant has fallen asleep, nose and cheek pressed against her current read.

It seems we’ve caught the college creature in her natural habitat.  It was a late night, and as warm sun sneaks through the blinds, it’s about to be an early morning!

Although my days have been longer and more filled and challenging than almost ever, I’m thrilled to be back and starting my senior year (*gasp, choke, faint, recover*) at Springfield College.  Here’s a preview to this semester:

In addition to taking two English courses as electives with my favorite professors, I’ll be spending 80 hours teaching in a middle school, and 80 hours in a high school.  I’m taking a Teaching Methods course with the most fantastic education professor, and a teaching seminar as well.  Also, I am getting credit for rock climbing in our Wellness Center.  I have become the Copy Editor for our college’s newspaper, the Springfield Studentand have become the Editor-in-Chief of our school’s literary magazine, the Alden Street Review.  I’m back at the Academic Success Center, tutoring mainly writing and grammar, but have resigned from the Print Shop after three years.  I’ll be working with the Career Center Student Advisory Board again, will participate in our English and Education Honor Societies, and Education Club.  If you’re like me, this all sounds like a ton of fun.  If not, I’m sure we’ll still get along =)

Also, next week I’m going to Honduras!  More on that soon!