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The Pink Bungalow “ When twelve months are nearly up and you sit on the beach, look out to sea and know you will never forget this ”

Immersed: A Year in Honduras” by Rosa Freya is an unflinchingly honest chronicle of her year-long journey as a volunteer in the heart of Central America. Through a myriad of experiences, both harrowing and heartwarming, Freya expertly guides us through the gamut of human emotion and experience, from the joy of learning a new language to the distress of confronting violence and inequality. This narrative captures the essence of the Honduran culture, community, and realities, as seen and lived through the eyes of an outsider turned insider. Not merely an observer, Freya embeds herself into the very fabric of the community, offering readers a truly authentic and raw perspective on life in a country marred by challenges but enriched by its people’s resilience and spirit. This piece serves as a stark reminder of the disparities that persist in our world and the profound impact that even a single year can have on one’s perspective of life. As you delve into this poignant tale, be prepared to embark on an emotional journey that traverses the depths of human strength, compassion, and the transformative power of experience.


Creative Writer & Illustrator | Rosa Freya

When you explore a different part of the world,

When you get off that plane and the warm, humid, thick air hits you,

When you smell the burning tar of the dusty streets,

When you arrive at your new pink bungalow home,

When you sit outside the first night and just look up at the stars, and think to your self, “I miss home already.”

When twenty smiling children look up at you,

When you get to know their lives,

When you watch them stand before their parents and recite the Christmas play you’ve been practising with them for weeks and Elias shouts out to you “Miss, but, but, I’ve said it miss!” because he read all his lines at once!

When you can’t help but smile at their brave maturity and unpolluted innocence.

When you notice that the child that didn’t speak a word of English now understands when you say, “turn to the next page”

When one of your children disappears and you’re later told their family had to leave the country due to death threats.

When you befriend the most humble people you’ve ever met,

When you begin to recognize people in the street and become part of a community,

When you get over the language barrier and hold your first conversation with an elderly woman sitting on the bus,

When you fall in love with the culture, die your hair black, learn how to dance bachata and how to cook baleadas.

When you’re stuck in a hospital for two weeks because you’ve caught dengue fever and your medication is coconut water and grapes,

When you return to your classroom and your children tell each other to be quiet because they care about you.

When you’re falling asleep and you can’t work out if the sound of the gunshots are close by or far away. 18

When you have to leave the country every three months to renew your visa and Honduran police intimidate you,

When another volunteer is robbed at gunpoint,

But the feeling, the feeling of hanging your head out of the bus window and enjoying the warm air hit your face and make your hair dance, you feel so free.

When you’re invited to move in with a local friend’s family, when you sleep in the six-bed room for the first time,

When your toilet and shower is no longer inside,

When the roof to your home is a piece of metal, when the living area is a plank wood bench and a couple of plastic chairs outside,

When you talk to your new sisters about their husbands,

When they share stories of horrific abuse they’ve had to endure by their loved ones, When you hear one woman is killed every sixteen hours and sometimes even killed for as little as sixteen dollars,

When you hear about girls carried out in black plastic bags so people think its only rubbish,

When you walk into your classroom the next day, look at the girls and pray they will be OK, look at the boys and pray they’ll know its wrong.

When you really start to see what life is like living in Honduras.

When twelve months are nearly up and you sit on the beach, look out to sea and know you will never forget this. You realise you only really experience a country when you become a part of it.

Once you return home, a switch in your mind has changed; you can never look at life the same again.


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