Speaking Spanish through local community

How one student connected the Cambridge community to the local Honduran community 

BY ROCHELLE PEACE            

Contributing writer 

CAMBRIDGE–
College life can offer endless possibilities, experiences and networks.  A desire to begin a local “Intercambio” opened all three for me.

I had wanted to find individuals whose primary language was Spanish and exchange our primary languages.  I was not confident in my Spanish speaking abilities, but felt encouraged by my Spanish teacher, “Profesora” Shannon Kirkeide.  Kirkeide encourages students to seek cultural experiences.

Beginning in October, I started meeting with local Hondurans I had met at Don Julio’s in North Branch.  Fellow Spanish 1101 student Stephen Pearce joined soon after and was followed by Spanish 2201 student Robert Walz, Calli Johnson, Megan Harris, Courtney Bushway and others.  What began as a small success soon became more.

Group giving a baby shower for Delia Pinto. Back row (Left to right): Bob Walz, Rochelle Peace, Courtney Bushway, Megan Harris and Stephen Pearce (all students at ARCC). Front row (left to right): Delia Pinto, Heather Keevers of Options for Women LifeCare Center and Betty Mitchell of Options for Women LifeCare Center, taken at Perkins Restaurant, North Branch. Missing in photo: Karl Zabinski, Cierra Amerud, Calli Johnson, Kimberly Holmes, Andrea Miller and Sarah Strubel (ARCC students) and other Honduran immigrants in the Intercambio: Javier Riveria, Tulio Portello and Elena Erazo Melara

Group giving a baby shower for Delia Pinto. Back row (Left to right): Bob Walz, Rochelle Peace, Courtney Bushway, Megan Harris and Stephen Pearce (all students at ARCC). Front row (left to right): Delia Pinto, Heather Keevers of Options for Women LifeCare Center and Betty Mitchell of Options for Women LifeCare Center, taken at Perkins Restaurant, North Branch. Missing in photo: Karl Zabinski, Cierra Amerud, Calli Johnson, Kimberly Holmes, Andrea Miller and Sarah Strubel (ARCC students) and other Honduran immigrants in the Intercambio: Javier Riveria, Tulio Portello and Elena Erazo Melara

Many students joined us on occasion and enjoyed applying what they were learning in class to real conversations.  We have been able to help in other ways as well.  Currently, we are looking into ESL classes and other resources available in our area.

We were able to connect an expectant Honduran mother to services welcoming her new arrival.  What began as a small wish has become a big reality.  There will always be possibilities, experiences and networks around us; you only need to seek them.  I only wanted help with my Spanish, but what I got was a community.

Delia Pinto and her baby daughter Ashley Riveria y Pinto, in their apartment

Delia Pinto and her baby daughter Ashley Riveria y Pinto, in their apartment

 

 

 

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