Our preconceptions of Honduras were tainted by what we hear in the news and in documentaries. It is renowned for its gang wars, political strife, and poverty, and flying into Tegucigalpa only confirmed what we had first thought. However, what had not crossed our minds was how beautiful the country could be; the striking green mountains mixed with the pure white clouds and blue skies.
On our way to the first location for training, Santa Lucia, we were struck by the poverty of the country: tiny houses, tinned roofs, and roaming hungry dogs.
Yet in the town itself, by the small lake with its rowing boats and beautiful fountain, we were again misled by stereotype and the ugly media surrounding Honduras. The town is tucked away in the rolling hills around Tegucigalpa. It’s odd to think we were so close to the chaos of the capital in such a picturesque town.
As we met the host families, made new friends with the national volunteers, and experienced the culture (lots of dancing!) we realised there were two sides to Honduras - whilst there are many problems there are also things that should be celebrated: their love of food, the music, the friendliness of the people, their good sense of humour, and the passion that everyone possesses.
As we made our way to our project location, in the region of Intibucá, to a town called La Esperanza, which literally translates to ‘the hope’, we were once again struck by the hardships of rural life and how different it was to urban Honduras. The colour and genuine character the town presents is something which is increasingly hard to find. It is a vibrant town with so much natural charm despite its lack of money, whilst also having many of the necessities of modern life: Wi-Fi in cafes, supermarkets, and a mixture of restaurants.
Although this week the project work has been slow, we have now composed a plan that will be carried out over the duration of our cycle. We are working at a school and centre called CICAI, with an organisation called Libre Expresion, where we will be promoting gender equality. In our ten weeks we aim to build a library for the school and the community surrounding it, whilst also holding several workshops and events on women’s empowerment and the importance of recycling.
Two weeks of being in country has already flown past and we can't wait to get started on our project in a town so rich in culture.
Written by ICS volunteers Megan Papworth and Scott Houghton