This I Believe

Christine Holmes - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on May 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: community

Culture is something that everyone should value with great importance. It shapes who we are, it is our way of life, it sets us apart from others. I never knew how important culture was until I volunteered for a summer in Latin America.

It was a sunny day in June, my two partners and I slowly approached a rural village in the mountains of Honduras. Thoughts raced through my mine, “Will my host family like me?, Will I be able to understand their Spanish? Will they be able to understand me? Can I do this for six weeks?” All worries vanished when this cute little woman approached me, gave me a huge hug, and offered me the best fruit juice and bread ive ever tasted. I didn’t have to say anything, I just simply smiled and she smiled back.

The next six weeks were amazing. I learned all about the culture in Honduras while exchanging bits and peices of my own culture. I made tortillas with my host mom and sister every moring at five am for our family of ten. I played soccer with the kids, went hiking through the mountains, made and drank the best coffee I’ve ever had, learned how to use a machete with my host brothers, taught classes in the school, and worked on a project with the community. I came to appreciate their culture and love it. It was so different from my culture, but it helped me realize even through all of the differences people have they can still come together and laugh about the same things.

My experience in Honduras opened my eyes to new things. It made me see the world in a whole different way. I left the six weeks with a new family who I know cared about me and who I would give the world for. I learned that I was special for who I am and where I came from just like the people in the community were special for their lifestyle and background.

I wish everyone could have the experience I had. Learning about a new culture and sharing your own is one of the greatest understandings. Making connections with people is so rewarding and I know I will keep the friendships I made in Honduras for life. I believe that everyone should love their culture and love exchanging parts of who they are with others.