Alternative Spring Break 2016: Honduras Edition
Lia Pizarro is a third-year journalism and communication student.
Seven months ago, I was told that getting on an airplane with 15 other strangers to a completely different part of the world was going to change my life forever. I wasn’t sure how convinced I was at the time or if I was even going to get along with everyone I met. But it’s hard to believe that after just eight days of being away from home, I was able to experience things I could have only dreamt about and formed intense bonds with people I am now fortunate enough to call my family.
I worked alongside my awesome team to help with the construction of a vocational centre in the town of Los Trozos, Honduras. The centre will provide children with an opportunity to receive an education close to home, learning skills that they can use towards creating a better future for themselves, their families and their community.
Throughout this experience, we were all able to learn a variety of different skills that pushed both our mental and physical capabilities, such as mixing cement, digging through mass amounts of dirt, painting the interior and exterior of a building, taking long hikes and even dealing with early morning wake-up calls.
In many ways, I feel as if everyone in the community impacted me far more than I could say I tried to impact them. I was fortunate enough to experience what it was like to become a part of their world and how they lived their lives on a daily basis. I was welcomed by their hospitality and their willingness to teach me new things.
My choice to participate in the Alternative Spring Break Program was spontaneous yet I always knew somehow that after university, I wanted to go out into the world and contribute my efforts towards a project aimed at community growth and development. Today, I feel extremely proud for taking a step towards that goal by joining this program.
My experience as a participant has been simply life changing. I would have never imagined getting to ride on the back of an ox cart to transport bags of cement or hike down the side of a mountain, nor would I believe that I would get to play a soccer match with women in the community or swim under a massive waterfall. And most importantly, I would have never imagined that a real-life rooster would wake me up at six in the morning. (Yes, that actually happens!)
Beyond just going to the community and staying with our host family, I now feel as if a small part of me will be left with them forever. With all of the positivity they showed us, I could not imagine finding a way to repay them for their kindness except to say Muchos Gracias, mi familia en Honduras, por todo tu amor y apoyo.
(And a special thank you to my extraordinary leaders and fellow participants for their unconditional support and for making this an unforgettable experience.)