A day in the life of Natalee Forbes
I get up at 5am and the first things I see are the flowers outside my window. I do my morning reading and I like to have a daily devotion where I give a blessing.
I live on Roatn, the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras, where you're never far from the sea and the beach. I was born here and this is home for me - it's where my roots are. I love the community. There's a real island culture; everyone says "hello" or "long time no see".
On the way to my office at the District of Education, I often meet students' parents. Sometimes, when I see children of elementary age who aren't in school, I'll ask why they're not enrolled. Often they are trying to sell bread or peanuts. It's a reflection of their economic situation at home.
Roatn is a multicultural place. There are Spanish people, English-speaking black people, Garifuna people and expats all around. In Honduras, we call Roatn "the mainland" - it has nine indigenous and minority groups and seven working languages. But there's no divide in social status between us because we're all dependent on each other on the island. There's a real feeling of harmony.
I work as a coordinator for the islands' Intercultural Bilingual Education (EIB) programme and feel very strongly that we all need training in this area. As a teacher, I have seen too often that children can't read or write because they've been taught in a language they don't understand. A multicultural, multilingual classroom needs dynamic teaching, and that's something that the teachers working in the EIB programme strive to deliver every day. My job puts me in a position to train people and facilitate workshops, as well as supervise teachers in the classroom.
Once I'm at the office, I check in with my colleagues and then go out on site visits. I return for lunch at about 12.30pm. When I have a lot of work I eat at my desk, which is not very good. We eat beans and rice and oxtail, or chicken, or pasta - as an Islander, I like soul food.
I enjoy being in my current position because when I'm training teachers I understand what they are going through with their students. They know that by educating one child, they are helping to change their community.
No two days are ever the same. Sometimes I'm monitoring in the morning and also in the afternoon. Sometimes lobbying. Sometimes teaching. Sometimes I'm meeting parents or other members of the community. On Saturdays I take part in a teacher training programme, leading two-hour sessions on grammar, literature and reading with 44 students. We do a lot of singing because that helps to develop vocabulary.
At the end of the afternoon, I head home to check on my son's homework and go over his schedule. I make us something to eat, check in with my grandmother and that's about as much as I can fit into one evening. I'm doing courses online so I stay up to do my homework. And then it's time for bed, to get ready for another day.
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