This week has been a lesson in two things; the British digestive system and expertly winging it. Make no mistake, my team are incredibly hard working, and normally very prepared for what’s next in our ICS adventure. However, this week we have been blighted by two cases of food poisoning (no fun, unsurprisingly), another as yet unexplained case of the bad stomach and a whole lot of work to do without the team members we need. Let’s revise what else we’ve continued to learn this week - flexibility and adaptability!

I am a self-confessed hypochondriac, with the added bonus of a very delicate immune system, poor British flower that I am. And yet, the darkly humorous thing about going on any ICS placement is a close to 100% chance of getting ill. And ill we have got! We have already done battle with the Honduran health system and the dentist’s chair, and lived to tell the tale. 

So on to winging it; this has meant preparing for English classes in the actual class itself, as well as having to move things like our learning session to make sure we had adequate time to prepare for our workshop. It meant seeing what ingredients we could gather to celebrate everyone’s favourite Tuesday, Pancake Day! And it also meant we ran home from our mid-term evaluation to hastily bring together a makeshift cinema in the Casa Comunal for our latest fundraising adventure.

We have been talking a lot about the ‘Honduran Hour’ – the more relaxed approach to time-keeping that permeates a lot of ICS countries, and it’s true that it can be frustrating for stereotypically punctual Brits. However, as a particularly punctual Brit (read: 15 minutes early for everything), this is something I’ll be taking home with me. Not the turning up at 4pm for a 3.30pm appointment, but the understanding that panicking doesn’t solve anything, and that the best thing to do is get on with it, do it the best you can, and things will normally be fine. 

Trite and obvious words yes? Absolutely, and words that I’ve heard a thousand times before from well-meaning people. The trouble is that there’s a huge difference between knowing something and understanding something, and I think I may be starting to understand that panicking doesn’t show you care, it just shows you’re scared. And scary is one thing that ICS definitely is, but the fear of facing lessons you will only benefit from learning is the best fear there is.

For the record, the film fundraiser for our café project went amazingly well; we raised over 300 lempiras, and the community have asked for many more film nights too. We did what we needed to do, we did it well, and we finished it five minutes late, which in Honduran time is five minutes early.

Written by ICS Team Leader Josie Martin. Photos by Nikki Corney.