Following the same pattern as many other Latin American nations, Honduras sadly receives much negative coverage. To the complete outsider, pre-conceived notions of this country are more than likely to be based upon the reports on issues such as organised crime, violence against women, and severe poverty levels. 

However, after having spent three weeks in country, I for one, have not come across any evidence to prove that Honduras is a wild, dangerous place, quite the opposite in fact. This week we have witnessed how the Honduran people have a desire to embrace their local talent and culture. The Convoca festival of Gracias, Lempira is in its second year, and celebrates Honduran national pride through interactive performances of artistic creativity. It was a pleasure to witness, in the town's central square, how the locals took great pleasure listening to various live music artists, watching circus performers, looking at art exhibitions, and even a fashion show with material made completely from natural, locally sourced products. 

For both the Honduran locals and the international volunteers, the festival provided a platform to disprove what is now perhaps the western idea of Honduras: a country with violent cities and a subsequent disillusioned populace. Instead, here in Gracias, Lempira, the Hondurans are passionate and full of pride for their culture and heritage. 

As visitors to the town, we feel very grateful to be able to create bonds with locals who have a desire to change the world's perception of their country, and who yearn to express their creativity and national pride. As we interacted in the festival and soaked in the artistic energy, it felt very special to be a part of a community who are passionate about ensuring that the creativity and talent of the Honduran population is not forgotten. No matter where you go in the world, there are always those with hope and faith to improve their current circumstances, and to strive for a better future. 

By ICS volunteers Emma Hooper and Ben Anson