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Honduras Volunteers - continued

Tips for the Long Haul

  Smile, say hello first

Always be the one to make the effort. Sometimes this is hard and exhausting, but do it anyway. Learn people´s names and use them. Even if your Spanish isn´t great, smile and greet every person you meet. If you don´t, your Honduran associates or neighbors will feel offended.

  Learn to laugh at yourself

As you adjust, learn your job, and practice your Spanish, you will make lots of
mistakes—some funny, some not. Accept this as part of finding your place. Other people will laugh at you—it´s funny when someone says at lunch that they like the pecado, “sin,” when they mean pescado, “fish”—if you don´t laugh along, you will grow bitter.


I´ve found that many volunteers put a lot of demands on themselves and their time in an effort to help other people. While, in theory, this is noble, in reality you´ll just find yourself exhausted and burned out. Put your heart into your work and community but take time for yourself. Keep in touch with friends and family. Travel if you can. Stay physically and mentally healthy.

  Take comfort in friends

Get to know your fellow volunteers. Seek them out when you are having a hard time. You will be surprised that even the people with whom you don´t connect or with whom you don´t have things in common are willing to listen and support you on a bad day. They´ve been there too. Think of your relationships with the other volunteers as brotherly-sisterly ones.

You usually don´t get to pick the group
of volunteers with whom you live and work and you probably will not get along with everyone, all the time, but you are stuck together. Be flexible and forgiving in your relationships—volunteers are under new, strange stresses and, unfortunately, this sometimes this shows itself in their behavior toward others.  Don´t take things personally.

I wish you the best, dear Volunteer, as you go to the beautiful land of Honduras, a place that has shaped me and taught me uncountable lessons. As much as you give, be open to what you will receive--during my time here I have received far more than I have given. I have been changed and blessed by my time in Honduras and I am certain that you will be too.

Que le vaya muy bien,

Amelia Cook (
pictured above)
Volunteer Teacher
Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos
La Venta, Honduras

Amelia Cook has worked as ghost tour guide, yogurt sample girl, and freelance music reviewer before coming to Honduras as a volunteer. She currently lives outside of Tegucigalpa at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos,, a home for 500 orphaned children. She spends her days teaching long division and her nights reading Jorge el Curioso over and over again. In her free moments, she rambles a bit of her experiences in Honduras at

Part 1  |  2 |  3                             Jump back to beginning of Volunteering

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Part 1 - An Intro to Volunteering

Part 2 - Volunteer Packing List

Part 3 - Tips from a Volunteer

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