by Hope Brakenhoff
Can you imagine going to Honduras for three weeks with a group of fellow Greenville College students? This was how some lucky students spent their winter break. A group of GC students traveled to Honduras for Interterm to learn how to scuba dive and become immersed in the culture. Some got to travel with their closest friends, while others spent their time getting to know a whole new set of friends. No matter with whom they went, they all came back to this small town with an unforgettable experience.
The students went to a part of Honduras called Utila. While there, the students experienced an enormous range of different types of food. The students applauded the food served in Utila and each had a different opinion of which type was the best. One of the favorite foods was the baleadas, which are similar to burritos or quesadillas. Some other favorite dishes were found in a local crêpe place that was owned and run by a man from France who came to Utila when he retired. There was never a shortage of new food for the students to try and experience.
Each student also had the rare opportunity to receive certification in scuba diving while they were in Utila. The students spent a lot of time scuba diving in the beautiful Caribbean. Many of the students had the uncommon experience of seeing dolphins, as well as other sea creatures. The students also had the opportunity to go on a night dive while they were there. Sophomore Suzi Conner said, “We got to see the plankton lighting up under the water. It looked like underwater stars, which was amazing.” Many students said that the night dive was one of their favorite parts of the trip. Freshman Marjory Coates was ecstatic about the sea creatures she encountered on dives. She recounts seeing a dozen bottlenose dolphins, a barracuda, a lionfish, and a six-foot-long green moray eel. Few people have the experience of seeing sea creatures so up-close and personal. Many of the students who participated in the experience came back with a new perspective about living life. Conner said, “It was amazing to see that there is nowhere in the world where God isn’t.” The beauty of the island was something that stuck out to the students and showed them that it is important to take a breath and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
The trip also taught students a valuable lesson: They should learn to appreciate what they have. The people in Honduras seemed to have far less than most of the students, but these people were still completely content and happy. They didn’t focus on what they don’t have; they focused on the things with which they have been blessed. Their contentedness caused students to truly reevaluate how much they take for granted in their own lives. Marjory Coates talked highly of the trip’s influence. “I felt a great deal of peace come over me, which is something I rarely feel in our fast-paced world at home. I had the opportunity to really connect with God in a way that replenished me.” Junior Allyson Mitchell was also touched by the people of Utila and the way they lived their lives. “The lifestyle and culture taught me to live more carefreely and to not be so uptight in everything I do. I learned that it is okay to go with the flow and embrace where I am in life.” Mitchell went on to mention how family-oriented the people of Utila are and how the value they place on relationships creates “pure joy.” These people taught the Greenville College students valuable lessons and had a huge impact on each student’s life.
Whether it was because of the culture, the food, the new friends, or the experience of scuba diving in the Caribbean, the GC students who went to Honduras had no shortage of fun and unforgettable experiences. The people of Honduras surely impacted the lives of each student, and the beautiful scenery of Utila showed the students the unbelievable creativity that God shows through his creation every day.