Dancing as a Community by Meredith Ferrill

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Thanks to the many generous donors, in December, I was able to return to El Pital, Honduras. During my week back, teaching dance to the
children I had worked with this summer, I was able to reconnect with
the Lobo family, organize a community art project for Maria’s memorial,
and put on the dance concert that was postponed this summer.
As you may remember, I spent
five weeks in Honduras this past July teaching jazz, ballet, and hip-hop
to children in the five-hundred-person village of El Pital. The day
of the concert, we learned that Maria Lobo, an incredible woman that
I stayed with my second week in Honduras, had died in childbirth.
When I left Honduras this summer,
I felt my work there was not complete, and I wanted to help the community
honor Maria in a way poverty had not allowed. I have been overwhelmed
by your response to my story and am thrilled to share that together
we raised over $1,600 for the people of El Pital.
Those funds made three major
projects possible: First, I was able to return to Honduras the first
week of December to teach refresher dance classes and lead a dance concert
on Sunday, December 8th. Second, the community was able to
express their thoughts about Maria on ceramic tiles that we decorated
and will cement over her resting place. Finally, ten children with special
needs will be able to attend a school in La Ceiba, Honduras for the
first time in their lives, starting in February 2009, as the funds will
cover the transportation and entrance costs their families cannot afford.
The dance performance was a
wonderful experience for me, and I believe equally so for the kids and
their families. Although the power went out for two hours before the
performance, leaving us without music to practice, it was restored just
in time for the show. After the boys and girls performed their individual
numbers and did a coed merengue dance, the kids continued dancing when
the show was over and wanted to know when we would have our next practice!
I hope to return to El Pital in a summer or two to teach classes again,
but for now, I feel so thankful to have had this opportunity.
_____________________________________________________
Dear Supporters, Family and Friends:
THANK YOU!!! As of today, November 17, 2008, we have raised a total of $1,255 for the dance concert this December. I am speechless with gratitude and feel so excited to share your generosity with a community in need.
We were able to find very affordable transportation for my return to Honduras, so your support not only fully covers that transport, the concert, and the permanent art memorial, but has allowed $500 to be set aside to help start the “Special Needs Scholarship.” This Scholarship will help get children with disabilities in Honduras into school for the first time. It will cover the cost of transportation to a special school in La Ceiba, as well as school supplies that families in El Pital cannot afford.
One child in particular that will benefit from the program, is a nine-year-old boy born with Cerebral Palsy, who doctors believed would never speak. Remarkably, this boy started speaking at six-years-old without any formal education. This August, Elly and I worked with him one afternoon on learning the alphabet. We showed him “A, B and C” and noticed him the next day, tracing these letters into the dirt outside. His desire to learn was so inspiring, and I can’t wait to see him in school for the first time.
There are many children in the area that hope to attend this special school, and further donations to Un Mundo on my behalf will go directly to the operation of the “Special Needs Scholarship.” A gift of just $50 will allow a child to attend school for a month. If you are interested in donating to help children with special needs in Honduras attend school, you can donate through this secure website.
Thank you all again for your encouragement, generosity, and support. The people I met in Honduras changed my life. They treated me with such kindness, hospitality and generosity. I am so glad, to now share those things in return. If you would like to know more, please email me at meredithferrill@yahoo.com
Your continued support means so much to me, Un Mundo, and the families in El Pital.
Meredith
____________________________________________________________________________
Dear Supporters, Family, and Friends:
The first week of December 2008, I will be heading back to El Pital, Honduras to teach a week of refresher dance courses to the students that I worked with this summer. At the end of the week we will hold a performance for the kids to show off their incredibly hard work to their families and friends. This performance will also be in honor of the woman who passed away this August, and we will offer everyone the chance after the show to participate in making an art piece that will be displayed at her resting place.
I am working to raise $1,000 to cover the costs of transportation back to Honduras, funds for the food, drinks and set-up for the concert itself, and finally, funds for a permanent art piece in honor of this woman’s memory for the community to participate in creating.
All of the funds raised over this amount will support Un Mundo’s on-going projects, including building the first public high-school in the area, starting a library in the community, and securing funds to help children with special needs afford transportation to attend a special school in the city of Ceiba. Un Mundo, also, will continue to work over the coming years to provide improved health services to the people in and around El Pital.
If you would like to find out more about my fundraising project, please email me directly at meredithferrill@yahoo.com. Please click on this link to donate to Un Mundo and to help us reach our goal of $1,000: http://www.unmundo.org/en/howtohelp/donatebyweb
Thank you for your continued support!!
Meredith
I came down to Honduras in July 2008 with some cds burned with dance music, my tennis shoes, and very little knowledge of Spanish. The first few dance classes were, well, exhausting. I taught one group of girls, and one group of boys, mostly ages 8 – 12. My first class, I showed them clips from “Step Up,” and tried to introduce myself in my very sorry Spanish accent. These beginning classes showed me how much the kids wanted to dance, as they stared glossy-eyed at the dancers on the screen, and moved shyly to the music, but also how much I would need to keep them on track if we were going to get any learning accomplished, especially in time for the concert at the end of the month. When I pressed play on the ipod, the entire town was enticed to come and watch the classes, especially the young children who during two classes, chanted and threw the pits of their eaten mangoes into the high school while we tried to learn.
Into the second week, I started to nail down some Spanish words and realized that I needed to keep the kids moving throughout the entire hour to make sure that they stayed focused on dancing, and not on the spectators. I started to teach them each a specific dance combination, and then started teaching plies, leaps and turns. As El Pital adjusted to my loud music in the afternoon, the classes became more focused, and the kids came back every week, showing off their leaps during the final minutes of class and enjoying the free dance that included some of their favorite style, Reggaeton.
By the final week, my boyfriend Evan had joined me in Honduras, helping me communicate much more smoothly with my students in Spanish, and encouraging more of the older boys to join in the dance classes. Now, both the boys and girls finished learning their dance combinations and we started to discuss costumes and final details for the performance. We did a dress rehearsal the night before the show was to happen, and I can truly say that seeing them dance with such enthusiasm, filling the room with their stomping and leaping, with their shouts and turns, and showing me how well they had learned the combinations, made the entire trip worth it, in just those two short hours.
The day of the performance came, and we rode in the back of a pick-up truck to the school with pizzas, watermelons, sodas and scarves. The kids waited in front of the school gate in their “costumes:” white or black shirts and jeans. Shortly after we pulled into the school, however, we learned that a wonderful woman in El Pital had died in childbirth that morning. My second week in Honduras , I stayed with this woman and her incredibly accommodating family, and the blow of this news was too great to even think about continuing with the performance. One of her daughters was in my dance class, and out of respect for her, and her family, we cancelled the concert.
Looking back, I have several memories about my time in El Pital. I remember the fantastic views over waterfalls and in the mountains that I had no idea existed there. I remember the families I stayed with, their baleadas and soda and constant attention, and I remember sweating like crazy with a bunch of kids while the music blasted. I am hoping to return to Honduras in December for a week to put on the performance that was postponed, and to honor the memory of the woman who we lost that day. And finally, to see those kids get a chance to show off to their families and friends all of the hard work, joy and dedication they put into learning to dance.
Meredith Ferrill, Un Mundo Voluntee

Thanks to the many generous donors, in December, I was able to return to El Pital, Honduras. During my week back, teaching dance to thechildren I had worked with this summer, I was able to reconnect withthe Lobo family, organize a community art project for Maria’s memorial,and put on the dance concert that was postponed this summer.
As you may remember, I spentfive weeks in Honduras this past July teaching jazz, ballet, and hip-hopto children in the five-hundred-person village of El Pital. The dayof the concert, we learned that Maria Lobo, an incredible woman thatI stayed with my second week in Honduras, had died in childbirth.
When I left Honduras this summer,I felt my work there was not complete, and I wanted to help the communityhonor Maria in a way poverty had not allowed. I have been overwhelmedby your response to my story and am thrilled to share that togetherwe raised over $1,600 for the people of El Pital.

Those funds made three majorprojects possible: First, I was able to return to Honduras the firstweek of December to teach refresher dance classes and lead a dance concerton Sunday, December 8th. Second, the community was able toexpress their thoughts about Maria on ceramic tiles that we decoratedand will cement over her resting place. Finally, ten children with specialneeds will be able to attend a school in La Ceiba, Honduras for thefirst time in their lives, starting in February 2009, as the funds willcover the transportation and entrance costs their families cannot afford.
The dance performance was awonderful experience for me, and I believe equally so for the kids andtheir families. Although the power went out for two hours before theperformance, leaving us without music to practice, it was restored justin time for the show. After the boys and girls performed their individualnumbers and did a coed merengue dance, the kids continued dancing whenthe show was over and wanted to know when we would have our next practice!I hope to return to El Pital in a summer or two to teach classes again,but for now, I feel so thankful to have had this opportunity.
_____________________________________________________
Dear Supporters, Family and Friends:
THANK YOU!!! As of today, November 17, 2008, we have raised a total of $1,255 for the dance concert this December. I am speechless with gratitude and feel so excited to share your generosity with a community in need.
We were able to find very affordable transportation for my return to Honduras, so your support not only fully covers that transport, the concert, and the permanent art memorial, but has allowed $500 to be set aside to help start the “Special Needs Scholarship.” This Scholarship will help get children with disabilities in Honduras into school for the first time. It will cover the cost of transportation to a special school in La Ceiba, as well as school supplies that families in El Pital cannot afford.
One child in particular that will benefit from the program, is a nine-year-old boy born with Cerebral Palsy, who doctors believed would never speak. Remarkably, this boy started speaking at six-years-old without any formal education. This August, Elly and I worked with him one afternoon on learning the alphabet. We showed him “A, B and C” and noticed him the next day, tracing these letters into the dirt outside. His desire to learn was so inspiring, and I can’t wait to see him in school for the first time.
There are many children in the area that hope to attend this special school, and further donations to Un Mundo on my behalf will go directly to the operation of the “Special Needs Scholarship.” A gift of just $50 will allow a child to attend school for a month. If you are interested in donating to help children with special needs in Honduras attend school, you can donate through this secure website.
Thank you all again for your encouragement, generosity, and support. The people I met in Honduras changed my life. They treated me with such kindness, hospitality and generosity. I am so glad, to now share those things in return. If you would like to know more, please email me at meredithferrill@yahoo.com
Your continued support means so much to me, Un Mundo, and the families in El Pital.
Meredith
____________________________________________________________________________
Dear Supporters, Family, and Friends:
The first week of December 2008, I will be heading back to El Pital, Honduras to teach a week of refresher dance courses to the students that I worked with this summer. At the end of the week we will hold a performance for the kids to show off their incredibly hard work to their families and friends. This performance will also be in honor of the woman who passed away this August, and we will offer everyone the chance after the show to participate in making an art piece that will be displayed at her resting place.
I am working to raise $1,000 to cover the costs of transportation back to Honduras, funds for the food, drinks and set-up for the concert itself, and finally, funds for a permanent art piece in honor of this woman’s memory for the community to participate in creating.
All of the funds raised over this amount will support Un Mundo’s on-going projects, including building the first public high-school in the area, starting a library in the community, and securing funds to help children with special needs afford transportation to attend a special school in the city of Ceiba. Un Mundo, also, will continue to work over the coming years to provide improved health services to the people in and around El Pital.
If you would like to find out more about my fundraising project, please email me directly at meredithferrill@yahoo.com. Please click on this link to donate to Un Mundo and to help us reach our goal of $1,000: http://www.unmundo.org/en/howtohelp/donatebyweb
Thank you for your continued support!!
Meredith
I came down to Honduras in July 2008 with some cds burned with dance music, my tennis shoes, and very little knowledge of Spanish. The first few dance classes were, well, exhausting. I taught one group of girls, and one group of boys, mostly ages 8 – 12. My first class, I showed them clips from “Step Up,” and tried to introduce myself in my very sorry Spanish accent. These beginning classes showed me how much the kids wanted to dance, as they stared glossy-eyed at the dancers on the screen, and moved shyly to the music, but also how much I would need to keep them on track if we were going to get any learning accomplished, especially in time for the concert at the end of the month. When I pressed play on the ipod, the entire town was enticed to come and watch the classes, especially the young children who during two classes, chanted and threw the pits of their eaten mangoes into the high school while we tried to learn.

Into the second week, I started to nail down some Spanish words and realized that I needed to keep the kids moving throughout the entire hour to make sure that they stayed focused on dancing, and not on the spectators. I started to teach them each a specific dance combination, and then started teaching plies, leaps and turns. As El Pital adjusted to my loud music in the afternoon, the classes became more focused, and the kids came back every week, showing off their leaps during the final minutes of class and enjoying the free dance that included some of their favorite style, Reggaeton.
By the final week, my boyfriend Evan had joined me in Honduras, helping me communicate much more smoothly with my students in Spanish, and encouraging more of the older boys to join in the dance classes. Now, both the boys and girls finished learning their dance combinations and we started to discuss costumes and final details for the performance. We did a dress rehearsal the night before the show was to happen, and I can truly say that seeing them dance with such enthusiasm, filling the room with their stomping and leaping, with their shouts and turns, and showing me how well they had learned the combinations, made the entire trip worth it, in just those two short hours.

The day of the performance came, and we rode in the back of a pick-up truck to the school with pizzas, watermelons, sodas and scarves. The kids waited in front of the school gate in their “costumes:” white or black shirts and jeans. Shortly after we pulled into the school, however, we learned that a wonderful woman in El Pital had died in childbirth that morning. My second week in Honduras , I stayed with this woman and her incredibly accommodating family, and the blow of this news was too great to even think about continuing with the performance. One of her daughters was in my dance class, and out of respect for her, and her family, we cancelled the concert.
Looking back, I have several memories about my time in El Pital. I remember the fantastic views over waterfalls and in the mountains that I had no idea existed there. I remember the families I stayed with, their baleadas and soda and constant attention, and I remember sweating like crazy with a bunch of kids while the music blasted. I am hoping to return to Honduras in December for a week to put on the performance that was postponed, and to honor the memory of the woman who we lost that day. And finally, to see those kids get a chance to show off to their families and friends all of the hard work, joy and dedication they put into learning to dance.
Meredith Ferrill, Un Mundo Voluntee

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