This week we again went out for a walk around the local communities but this time we were completing surveys to find out the reach of the library we are renovating and how much interest there is surrounding it. This in itself was rewarding. Many of us UK volunteers are now at a point where we are happy to ask questions in Spanish and are able to write down the answers of what the locals say, proving how quickly you can pick up a language and begin to understand it in such a short space of time! However, on this walk something else happened which made me realise how significant not just our project is in the community but how much of an influence it can have on an individual’s life.
As we moved onto the next house ready to do another survey I heard someone call out to me in English. After getting over the initial shock that in such a remote place someone could speak English, I began talking to this mysterious man. As the conversation progressed I explained how I was a volunteer and talked of the project we are carrying out. He seemed impressed; nodding along, smiling and just generally full of energy. When he mentioned how Honduras struggles, I came back with how beautiful a country it is and that in England you could never find as many friendly people as you do here.
At the end, as he hopped onto his motorbike, he said only a few words but that sentence has stuck with me: ‘Thank you! I really appreciate your help.’ He then jumped onto his motorbike and was off, leaving only a trail of dust behind him.
I guess being in some sort of shock I carried on with taking the surveys and other tasks of the day and did not think much of the motorbike man. We have now finished painting the room we plan to hold our workshops in and have also met the women who have signed up to them. It’s really exciting to see the project progressing and now that we know who we are working with I can’t wait to get started. Tomorrow we are holding another event in the centre of town to raise awareness and also to encourage donations to our project.
It is not until now, when I have sat down to write the blog for this week that I realise how much the motorbike man has stuck with me. This week I was planning to write a blog on the amazing food Honduras offers but after the walk around the community I changed my mind, a blog on the food will come later.
I changed my mind principally due to one factor: It’s amazing how in such a short space of time something can suddenly hit you and make you realise how worthwhile the work you are doing is. You can see the local community, appreciate they need help. Hear the constant drone of negative news and know the country needs support. Even meet the locals and see their basic struggles. But it’s not until a complete stranger talks to you and simply thanks you that you realise how much of an influence you can play on somebody else’s life.
All of this happened in one conversation, less than three minutes long and it’s perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I’m four weeks into my time in Honduras and am already stressing that it’s happening all too fast.
Written by ICS volunteer Megan Papworth