Author’s note: This post is part of my series on my recent trip to Honduras. To read past posts on Honduras, click here.
I often find that a week is not enough time to experience a new country or volunteer abroad. There is way too much to learn, and the experience is often a bit overwhelming and intense. However, in my humble opinion a week is better than nothing so I normally do whatever I can to get as much out of my time abroad as possible, even if it means running myself rampant.
Friday came before I knew it. Just as my Spanish was beginning to pick up once again and I had finally began to feel comfortable in my surroundings, it was time to go. The hardest part leaving La Ceiba was leaving its people, both the children I had worked with at the day care center and my lovely host family. I felt really sad leaving the kids knowing how poorly they were treated and understanding that my presence as a volunteer at the center was the highlight of their day. I knew another volunteer was still there yet it wasn’t enough. In a center with over 60 young children and uninspiring employees, one volunteer could simply not make up for the lack of care, attention and love that the children required. It was heartbreaking to leave.
I also felt sad leaving my warm, caring host family. I was amazed how easily they welcomed me into their home with open arms, compassion, patience (with my lack of Spanish) and love. After only a few days I felt like an extended member of the family and it was hard to leave. It is rare to develop this kind of friendship with anyone in such a short period of time yet I came to understand that most Hondurans are incredibly warm and compassionate people. They may not have much, but they do have happiness and an overall acceptance of the hardship of their lives. Something many of us could learn from.
Here are a few of my last photos that I took before I left. I purposely chose photos that depict the sharp contrast I felt in Honduras between beauty and poverty. I felt it so intensely during my trip.
Stay tuned…next post on Honduras will show the gorgeous views of the sunset while on the ferry back to the island of Roatan.
It seems you really have to search for beauty there. Some people have very hard lives.
Very true Debra. But I also should mention that I was only in one small part of La Ceiba. I did have a chance to get out of town along the coast and it was insanely gorgeous, lush and jungly. I just didn’t like the city center itself. There is a ton of gorgeous things to see and do in Honduras yet as a single woman traveler it just isn’t smart. In fact just forty minutes away is Pico Bonito park which I didn’t have a chance to go to but is known as one of the most beautiful parks in all of Honduras where it is untouched jungle and you can see leopards. So I’ve got to remember to include in my posts that I just touched the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t particularly like La Ceiba but there is so much more to see. Too bad it isn’t the safest places. 🙂
Not sure now if my comment went to you or not as it looks like it disappeared. I didn’t find much beauty in the city itself of La Ceiba but the surrounding area was gorgeous and I honestly didn’t see much more than that. I know there is tremendous beauty in Honduras but unfortunately I didn’t have the time and was alone (a safety issue). Great points!
Immersing yourself into the culture is where the beauty lies, isn’t it? We can’t wait to do some traveling and volunteering next winter. We just need to nail down where we are going.
That sounds wonderful! I told my husband that it is my dream that when we retire we do international volunteer work. I can’t wait to hear about where you two end up going next year! 🙂
You are practically my role model. I would love to do volunteer work during my holidays 🙂 It’s lovely how you see the beauty in everything
Thanks so much! 🙂 It really is a great experience to step out of your comfort zone.
The photo of the two children is precious!
Thanks Madhu! 🙂
I enjoyed making the trip thru Your wonderful photos.
Thanks so much! 🙂
You definitely are an inspiration for people to volunteer, Nicole. It sounds like your experience in La Ceiba was a strong contrast against your stay in Guatemala the year before but then that’s a poverty stricken country too. I think you were just lucky to stay in a more visually appealing place. As with anywhere though, it’s the people that really make a place and it looks like you left a piece of your heart there.
Great comment! So true. I loved Guatemala but I did connect with the family and kids in honduras too. 🙂
I think people leave more lasting memories than places if you have a good connection.