Brandi Bottalico left for a week in Honduras not knowing what to expect.
But when she and about 50 other Towson University students returned, they had seen and interacted with dozens of children and other Hondurans, and helped to build a boys’ home, a school and a library.
Bottalico, a senior mass communication major, spent a week in the country as a member of the Towson chapter of a national group called Students Helping Honduras. The Towson students worked alongside Hondurans as well as a volunteer group from Stony Brook University. Bottalico’s tasks included everything from laying bricks to mixing concrete.
“I was able to talk to the [Honduran] workers,” said Bottalico, who speaks some Spanish. “They gave us a lot of breaks, but the workers worked all day… They didn’t seem grumpy. They were just making a living off it. It’s not like they were getting real rich or anything. They were still struggling. They were just happy to have a job.”
Bottalico said the students were free to go each day at 4 p.m., and often went to play soccer or play with the children, some of whom would sit on the students’ laps or play games on their phones.
The volunteer trip cost $650, all of which went toward tools and other supplies. Bottalico raised the money with pledges from her friends and family.
Bottalico is also senior editor for The Towerlight, and recently wrote about her experiences in a commentary. Even though she plans to graduate this spring, she said she still wants to go back to Honduras next January, and is trying to convince her roommates to come with her.