12 March 2014

Ithaca is Jorges

Out of all the people that we, the students, have met and interacted with through the entire duration of our trip, no one expressed as much love and joviality as Jorge Dueñas, one of the van drivers for the 2014 Honduras trip. Despite his barebones grasp of English, Jorge managed to showcase his outgoing personality through many means other than spoken language.
Jorge helping with the construction of the foam filtration unit

In this video interview, we asked a few of the students, Kadamburi Suri ’17, Melissa Shinbein GRAD, and Paroma Chakravarty ’16 to describe some of their experiences with the loveable and expressive driver Jorge, who hails from the city of Tela on the northern coast of Honduras. They recall the experience of Jorge regaling them the story of how he met the love of his life while he was in the process of joining the priesthood.

The beauty of this experience was this linguistic cooperation that they shared between each other in order to break the egregious language barrier. Melissa, with a little experience with Spanish, was able to pick out the simple Spanish words and cognates. Beyond that, they relied on body language and hand motions for ideas like love, affection, or anxiety, that proved to be surprisingly universally understood.

In the end, we were all glad to revel in the fact that we were able to establish this line of communication, albeit through tremendous effort from both parties. I think about all the life stories of everyone we have interacted with on this trip and realize how easily I could miss them if I did not try to listen to them tell them. Everyone has a story to tell, about love, family, home life, or even about us visitors. I can only hope to have enriched the stories of those I have met on this trip.

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