We are so excited to share a “Day in the Life” of one of our volunteers! Amanda came on a trip with us in January. Although no two trips are exactly the same, you can read her story below to get a general sense of some of the things you’ll be doing!
My name is Amanda Livezey, I’m from Houston, Texas and I first found out about Humanity & Hope United through my friend Nazley; she married the H&H founder, Riley, and I followed along on social media as their family called for generosity and love to a part of the world where a little bit goes a long way. After chatting with prior volunteers, I decided to join up for the mid-January trip this year and it was an experience I’ll never forget!
I received constant communication and support from H&H as soon as I expressed interest and throughout the duration of my trip. They helped with packing lists, daily activity expectations, and travel arrangements; I just had to book my flight and show up. There is quite a bit of variation between trips in terms of group size and planned activities, but the main priority is always showing love and respect to the people from each village. I’ll walk you through one of my favorite days on the trip so that you have an idea of what to expect.
7:30AM wake up and throw on some clothes that are guaranteed to get sweaty and dirty; we’re impressing with our kindness, not our style out here. Grab a backpack with daily essentials like bug spray, sunscreen, a hat, snacks, and a water bottle and get out the door. Grab a gourmet coffee from the shop on the hotel grounds and then meet the whole team at the restaurant (also on the hotel grounds) for breakfast; I loved their food and they have suitable options for any diet (must try their Honduran traditional breakfast!). After breakfast, everyone loads up in the van to head to Remolino; it’s about a 45-minute ride, but the scenery along the way is beautiful.
Once we get to the village, we meet up with the men’s business leader who takes us to walk through the pineapple fields. The pineapples grow from the middle of the bush-like plants, and only one pineapple is produced per plant; so in order to grow a lot of pineapples, you need A LOT of land. The fronds of the pineapple plants have sharp, serrated edges, so long sleeves and pants are a must to keep from getting cuts while walking amongst the fields. The men’s leader explains how they clean the field between plants with machetes, trying to move quickly without getting snagged on the knife-life plants. We visit all three of the pineapple fields and get to ask the men’s leader any questions we can think of about the work. The views from the fields are amazing so we all snap some photos before making our way down into the village.
Remolino has a beautiful riverbank, many people from the village told us that hanging out by the river with their feet in the water is their favorite way to spend a hot day; so, after the pineapple fields, we wander down by the river to cool off. Then we wash up and eat our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we prepared PB&Js every night for lunch the following afternoon. PB&Js are quick to make, quick to eat, inexpensive, they won’t spoil without refrigeration and they took me right back to joyful childhood lunches, I honestly looked forward to enjoying them every afternoon of the trip! To top off lunch, the men’s leader brings a fresh-from-the-field pineapple that he carves tableside, it is the sweetest, juiciest pineapple I can ever recall tasting.
After lunch, we complete a few home visits. Home visits are opportunities to learn more about the villagers and express interest, concern and love for them. We ask the members of each household questions about their kids, their lives, their hopes for the community and what their specific needs are. Home visits are one of my favorite parts of the trip because people invite us into their homes to sit down with them like friends, they let us ask personal questions and engage us in thoughtful conversation; these interactions validate, for me, that we are all much more alike than we are different.
The women’s leader has a treat for us after we finish the home visits – we’re going to learn to make pineapple pastelitos, which are basically sweet empanadas. She has already prepared a vat of caramelized pineapple jam as the filling and it sits cooling on the edge of the table. Together, we mix up the dough then section it and roll it into balls before the women show us the technique to smack them down into flat pancakes for filling. It is a comedy to watch us mimic their flattening technique, it’s so much more difficult than it looks. Eventually we have flattened, filled and crimped closed all of the dough, so the women’s leader fries them up in batches. When they’re done, we can hardly wait to dive into them, they are delicious!
We visit a little longer with our new friends, but then it’s time to load up and head back to the hotel. We have an hour or two at the hotel to wash up, relax and get changed before we are going to walk across the street to get pizza for dinner. The pizza place is actually amazing; the family has connections to Naples, Italy so it is hand-tossed, wood-fired perfection that you would not expect to find in the middle of Honduras. We eat and hang out until we’re ready to return to the hotel where we will prepare our PB&J sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch and then get a good night’s rest before another busy day!
Interested in joining us on one of our trips? Learn more here or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.