The idea of living with a host family can be quite a daunting experience and is one that we were all quite apprehensive about. Sometimes, it is hard enough getting along with your own family, let alone a family who live on the other side of the world, with different cultural norms and a completely different language. Despite these initial worries, there was also a sense of anticipation and excitement to what the eleven weeks living in a new home would entail.
As we approached the gates of our new home, we were all initially taken back by how rural San Benito was, but also impressed by how well kept and pretty the house was. Our family greeted us at the gates and showed us our new room and space for the next three months, complete with a handmade welcome banner hung on the door. The first day was understandably difficult, as we got to know our family and familiarise ourselves with our new surroundings. We also got an introductory lesson on how to clean our clothes catracho style (the only time Harry actually washed his clothes) followed by typical small talk made slightly easier with Gagan’s Spanish.
From the very start, the family has made us feel welcome and has helped us settle into both the community and the Honduran way of life. The host family have had the balance between wanting to speak to us but also giving us our own space when we need it.
Getting to know our host family has been easy, and something as simple as watching TV with them or spending nights out on the porch chatting about the day, has really made us feel part of the family. They have also always been there to support the work we are doing on placement by attending our events and even popping in to help during the work day.
We’ve enjoyed some incredible memories with the family both in and out of the host home. Our host father is in charge of the local football team and we were delighted to be invited to watch some of their Sunday matches. We’ve also been able to explore a little more of Honduras as they have taken us out to parks and the old Honduran capital of Comayagua. Furthermore, we have tried to show our appreciation for their hospitality by cooking a few meals for the family, which has involved a hybrid of traditional Honduran and British cuisines.
Living with a host family has been one of the best parts of the ICS experience. It is a great kindness when somebody opens up their home to you and takes you in as part of their family. We have gained a lot from the experience by learning from the family and have enjoyed sharing a small insight into our own way of life. The idea of living with two other volunteers was equally quite a daunting prospect, however, the relationships between us as volunteers has been equally as strong and enjoyable as that we have made with the family. As a result, we hope to keep in contact, not only with our host family but also with each other, as new brothers and best friends.
Written by ICS volunteers Harry Tomkins, Daniel Moroz and Team Leader Gagan Aggarwal