Extra Mile of Love: Viewpoint of a Honduran First Time Volunteering

Honduras Update December 20, 2107

Hi, my name is Iris Euceda, I should probably start with this because I cannot think which is the perfect way to start describing my first-time experience volunteering in my home country with the amazing team of IC13. I recently moved back to Honduras, I was away for four years studying for my college degree. Since I was five years old I remember I always had this crazy and passionate love to help my country. I have had this dream of having a special place where I can bring families with economic issues and assist kids with special needs and help them have a better future, it is still only a dream, hopefully, one day it can become a reality. Many people questioned me, what was my purpose of studying in a different country if I had the desire to return and help in Honduras? When I took the decision of studying out of Honduras, I did it by taking in consideration how could I prepare myself better to learn different skills that would help me in the future and give my best to help the people in need in Honduras.


The first step I took was getting an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education/ Special Needs and finally a bachelor´s degree in Organizational Development, and here again, I faced many people asking how could I survive with those two college degrees in Honduras. I felt frustrated many times, but I know these two degrees are the perfect mix  and a plus that will help me achieve my goals about my passion in life, which is helping others, not to mention you do not need  a college degree to be able to help, you just need an open heart and the desire to go anywhere and start giving your best to people that are waiting for a helping hand in their lives.

I know you are probably getting bored and it still makes no sense for you why am I writing my whole life story in this post when it should be about a volunteering experience. I promise not boring you more with my life drama, but it was necessary to give a brief information so you can understand why this wonderful experience changed my life.


While I was studying in the USA I always volunteered in different community outreach with the church I used to attend and in a non-profit organization that works with the Hispanic community in a city of Pennsylvania. I felt very happy about everything I achieved in those years, but I felt sad that I always told everyone how amazing is Honduras and its people, even though I have never volunteered before in anything in my home country. When I moved back in December I started looking for jobs in a non-profit organization industry that works with rural places in Honduras, sent millions of resume and never get any respond back, it has been a frustrating season, and this is the moment I always remember myself, God has a better plan for my life and it is not in my time but on His perfect time that things will happen. Days were passing by and still, nothing happened. It was by mid-January when Javier Quezada, former volunteer of IC13, told me that the organization was coming to Honduras for a medical trip and that they needed interpreters. I knew everything about the organization because he has been volunteering many years with them. Right after he told me about the medical trip, I got home and I remember saying thanks God I still do not have a job because I have completely free days to volunteer with IC13.

I was patiently waiting for the day to arrive, once the day arrived I felt very anxious and nervous, it was my first time volunteering as an interpreter. In the beginning, when I was having breakfast with everyone, I felt like a fish out of the water. I did not know anyone and many of the volunteers have known each other before, in the past trips, where they have worked with the organization. We left to Finca Ocho, while going there I remember praying the whole ride for God to give me peace and make me feel less nervous and shy. We arrived at Finca Ocho and I started been the interpreter for one of the nurses in the group, since the first moment she made me feel so comfortable we started talking about ourselves in between breaks. We started attending more patients and that day was an eye opening for myself because many times we complain about the most insignificant things, because we do not have the new phone or a new pair of shoes and just seen how grateful and how joyful most of the people were toward all of us, even though they lack so many things starting with the opportunity to visit a hospital or not been able to buy their medications that are needed for them to feel better every day, some others do not have enough money to buy food for their meals throughout the day, all of these things make me thought what an incredible journey I was about to start.


I´m Honduran and yes, I have read so many times how much poverty there is in our country and yes, I have read about the lack of education and medical services that exists in Honduras and no, I never had the chance to go and help these people that are in need, neither an opportunity in the past to see with my eyes how grateful these people are without caring the living conditions they faced each day. This was only my first day, by the end of that day I was so happy and blessed to be part of the IC13 family, that is how they made me felt by the end of the first day. Everyone was kind and welcoming they will ask many times throughout the day if I was feeling good with all of the activities happening. This was only my first day and once it came to an end I was happy that I still had three more days to help other people and three more days of sharing with my new family members. The days passed by and each day I learned something new whether it was a medical term, a new way to find a solution to a health issue or just a new lesson in my life just by watching other people around me or in the village where we were working. I must say I came to this volunteering job trying to help others instead of helping them, they helped me figure out many things in my life I learned valuable things such as trust, accept, and a greater love for my beautiful Honduras. I must learn to trust people and not always put a wall where there is no need for one to be built. All the communities trusted us even though they only get to see the team one day twice a year, they welcome us with open arms and never gave a bad look making us feel like strangers. Acceptance is another thing I learned during this journey I learned that I must accept things the way they are without judging. Been a Honduran helping in my own country and see how much need there is in many areas makes me feel very sad, but at the same time, it gives a different point of view of many things that we do not have the access to watch every day. It is really disappointing knowing that probably there are enough resources to assist these needs, but the people in charge of helping in these areas do not give the right amount of importance that it requires. It is sad that as Hondurans most of us we do not have the desire to help our own brothers or that deep love for our country most of the time people from another country come and solve our problems. Definitely, we are a very blessed country because God always sends us the most amazing helpers even though they were not born in Honduras they have an extreme love for our country and people and for their lives, I thank God every day. In this journey I learned to start having more acceptance I reminded myself that an I cannot change everything that needs to be improved in my country from day to night, but I´m willing to give my extra mile of love, give my best to start making the difference and transform the life of many people in my beautiful Honduras. I would love to be able to help in more trips and be lucky enough like I was in my last trip, at every place we went, and one that touched my heart the most was Olivos, to see the first pictures how it looked before and to watch myself how far they have come, to always see the big picture, little kids giving smiles in return and miracles happening.