Life After TLC w/ Odalys Viera

By LMI Communications Coordinator, Leah Rome

Below you will find the transcript of my interview with Odalys. Odalys graduated in Cohort 7 from TLC, Leadership Mission International’s campus in Honduras. Odalys speaks on life after graduation, and her work with the NGO El Ayudante.


Leah: Hello everyone who’s listening, I’m Leah the communications coordinator at TLC in Honduras right now, and I am interviewing Odalys, from Cohort 7. We are so glad to have her and listen to her story. So Odalys, can you tell us a little about what life was like before you came to The Leadership Center?

Odalys: Thanks Leah, I am happy to be with you all today. So, I have 3 brothers, I am the only girl at home, so my father works in Agriculture, my mom is a housekeeper so I don’t come from a rich family, I come from a really medium-class family, so I would say like poor family. That’s something short about me. 

Leah: So how did your family feel about you wanting to go and further your education at TLC?

Odalys: You know, since I come from a poor family, your aspirations for going to University or studying farther then high school is difficult. Coming to TLC and studying was a really really great opportunity, so they were like ‘yes you have to go there.’ You know having a great opportunity to study at TLC is a really really good opportunity when you come from a poor family. Because you don’t have aspirations to go to University.

Leah: That’s awesome that they were supportive. When you got to TLC, what skills did you feel like you learned while on campus?

Odalys: Well one of the skills, I learned how to milk a cow. That was scary in the beginning but I learned that, so I did that in my first quarter. I also learned how to make compost, which I think is a really really cool skill to learn so I learned a little how to grow vegetables and all those things.

Leah: What about academically? Do you feel like you gained insight into many different subjects that you weren’t exposed to before? How did that feel?

Odalys: I think the two biggest are community development and leadership. I think those two are the things that I really really enjoyed the most. I think those were things you don’t usually hear about, leadership and community development, that’s not something you learn in high school or in university. So I think those two skills are really really cool so that’s something I really enjoyed studying at TLC. 

Leah: What did you want to do when you were at TLC? Did you know like ‘I want to go into this field when I’m done.’ Tell us a little bit about that. 

Odalys: No, I think that’s something I discovered in TLC. That’s something that TLC usually helps us, like discovering what your passions are. So when I got to TLC I was like ‘I think I might be good with people’, but I didn’t really know for sure what I was good at. In TLC I discovered I could be good doing community or working with communities and working doing some community development things. I discovered myself in TLC while studying there.

Leah: That’s amazing, I love that. Tell us a little bit about what you do now and how TLC has helped you in your field that you are working in now.

Odalys: Okay so I work with a non-profit organization close to Comayagua, it’s called El Ayudante. It is a really big non-profit organization who does community development. It’s a big big ministry so it does a lot of things. I am the community outreach assistant and I do community evaluations, family evaluations, I’m the wedding planner/coordinator. I work in all small projects, so we have latrines, we have pilas, we have adobe houses, we have block projects. So I work with schools, teachers, pastors, so it’s like a resume of what I do, I do a lot of things, but this is a little bit about what I do. I do community outreach.

Leah: We will end with the question of if you could tell anyone who is thinking about going to TLC, one thing about your experience or piece of advice to them, what would you tell them?

Odalys: I would say if there is someone out there thinking ‘should I go or not?’ I think take it. You should go. You definitely should go. Because I always said you can go to University and learn many other skills, you can go to a private university or a public university, but what you learn in TLC you will not be able to learn it in a public or private university. Yeah, Leadership? That’s not something you learn everywhere. Community Development? That’s not something you learn everywhere. So TLC changes your mindset and your way of thinking, that’s something that not a University would do. 

Leah: Very good point. Well thank you Odalys for being on this zoom with me today. I just appreciate you connecting with me. 

Odalys: I am happy to be with everyone here.