LMI Staff & Visitor Handbook

Everything you need to know before coming to TLC's campus, from how to prepare for arrival to what your day to day schedule will look like. See you soon!

Table of Contents

A Letter from our Teachers

Hi everyone!

We’re so excited to have you join life here at Leadership Mission International’s Campus in Honduras, The Leadership Center (TLC). TLC is a really special place, and the people are the best part. Life here is very different from the U.S., but we know you’ll come to love it as much as we do! We want to share some tips and things we wish we had known before we came to campus.

– As you probably know, Honduras gets pretty hot! However, TLC’s location is in the mountains at a higher altitude, which means a lot of cooler weather as well. There are a few months in the winter which get pretty cold, and nights are usually always cold. We definitely recommend bringing some warm clothes such as a warm jacket, sweatpants, a pair of warm socks, and a beanie.

– TLC’s location is very remote! We rarely leave campus, besides going for walks or hikes. This is one of the benefits of TLC, given we have so much natural beauty and a very tight community on campus. However, just be aware that you will rarely leave campus or interact with people outside of campus.

– Campus is full of life! Even though teachers only teach a few hours a day, there are always activities, events, and meetings happening on campus. Although we don’t have a 9-5 work schedule, we pretty much “work” all day. From gardening, to sports games, to leadership teams, to discipleship groups, prepare to be busy!

– Snacks, snacks, and more snacks. You will want to fill your suitcase with snacks, and even then you will want even more snacks. The meals are usually delicious and nutritious, however there will be times where you are hungry after a meal. Additionally, it is difficult to go 5 hours without a snack and there are limited opportunities to buy extra food here. You should bring some nutritious snacks, as well as an occasional treat for yourself. The diet here takes some getting used to, but you will come to love corn tortillas as much as the Hondurans.

We hope this helps prepare you a little better. There’s a lot more you will learn and experience once you arrive, but that’s all part of the adventure. There are so many things to look forward to as you prepare to come to TLC. Some of our personal favorites are bonfires, dance parties, soccer games, sharing special food with the students, and many game nights. Being at TLC is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so don’t let the cockroaches and spiders intimidate you!

 Abrazos,

Becca, Claudia, and Ashley

General Information

Mission, Vision and Values

Leadership Mission International is a faith-based, U.S. nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and public charity that provides educational and leadership development programs to women in Honduras. We see our mission and vision as reflecting God’s love to those we serve. We practice and promote our core values throughout all levels of the organization, including visitors to campus. 

About Honduras

The physical environment is tropical, with a long dry season in the south and the interior and a shorter dry season in the north. The center of the country was originally covered by pine and oak trees, but much of it was logged for farming.  The northeast is called Moskitia, with white sand beaches and inland from the coast are tropical rainforests. The capital city, Tegucigalpa, is near the center of the country in the central highlands.

Basic Economy, Education and Food

  • Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America with over 60% unemployed or under-employed. Half of the economically active people work in agriculture.
  • Many children are forced to leave school for work at a very young age
  • The basic educational system only covers 80% of school age children
  • In general, school is provided by the government through 11th grade but many families cannot afford uniforms and school supplies
  • Poor families have almost no access to education beyond 6th grade, and even their primary school education widely ranges in accessibility and academic excellence depending on whether or not the rural communities have schools and can pay teachers 
  • Very few can afford university level education
  • Beans and corn tortillas are the mainstays of the diet
  • Other common foods are fried plantains, white cheese, rice and local grown vegetables (tomatoes and avocados) and fruits (mangos and pineapple) 

About Leadership Mission International (LMI)

The process of selecting, educating, training, developing and empowering the students and graduates:

  • Applicants are recommended by an individual familiar with LMI (NGO leader, high school teacher, missionary, pastor or priest, Honduran business leader or government official).
  • A 2-day interview at TLC for applicants to experience life on campus and learn LMI objectives.
  • Students live on campus for 2 years. The school year has 4 10-week quarters. The students return to their home community for 2-3 weeks between quarters.
  • They study English, Leadership, Community Development, Business and more. They participate in local area activities to further the development of these communities as well as to learn community service principles that they can apply in their home communities.
  • All graduates complete a 3-month internship with another organization such as an NGO or business.
  • Upon graduation students may apply for a micro-loan investment for their business. These loans allow them to start and fund the first year of business.
  • Teaching starts with English immersion for 1st year students and moves to a leadership focus with hands-on, experiential opportunities in the 2nd year. 

Other Campus Information

  • There are regular planned exercise activities in the morning before breakfast that include running, Zumba and others.  The students enjoy soccer, volleyball and basketball in their free time.
  • With over 200 acres, there is plenty of room to enjoy nature including beautiful birds.
  • The students live in dorm rooms with 6-8 girls per room.
  • There is a “mini mart” on campus managed by the students that offers snack foods for sale.  The students will accept US dollars.

Preparing for Arrival

International Health Insurance Policy

Leadership Mission International requires all volunteers, teachers, and visitors to have a basic international health insurance policy. Insurance is available at a reasonable cost from many organizations including “Go Mission”: https://www.gomissiontrip.com/ .  Other possible options for teachers committing to one year or longer are Atlas Travel Insurance (https://www.hccmis.com/atlas-travel-insurance/) or Global Travel Insurance (https://www.imglobal.com/international-health-insurance/global-medical-insurance).

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

LMI also recommends volunteers register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a service offered by the US State Department: https://step.state.gov/step/

Short-Term Visit Cost

Food, lodging and transportation from the airport to TLC for a typical one-week trip is about $700. For interns, short-term teams, and other visitors, this can be made in the form of a donation at this link, or by going to our website (https://give.leadershipmission.org/) and selecting the “Team Fees” campaign option. Please note in the Comment section, “Payment for First Name/Last Name.”

Airfare and Flights

Typical airfare prices range between $450-$850, depending on where you are flying from in the United States. We recommend arriving to the Tegucigalpa airport between 9am-5pm (most flights arrive around noon), so we can transport all visitors back to campus in daylight hours.

Completing Entry Forms on Flight to Honduras

Your purpose for Visit: Tourist 

Your Foreseen Address: The Leadership Center, El Salto   

Department: Comayagua 

Local contact info/phone number – Karla Mendoza: 011-504-9748-9765

Health and Medical Requirements

We suggest each traveler consults with their primary care physician at least two months prior to arrival, and follows recommendations provided. All health and medical recommendations noted here are guidelines only and should not replace consultation with a medical provider.

Updated health information for travelers to Honduras can be found on CDC website. It is suggested to see a health provider 4-6 weeks before the trip to allow time for necessary medicines to take effect.

Malaria Prevention

Due to altitude and climate at TLC there are not as many mosquitos as there are in other parts of Honduras, however, there are 4 ways to avoid mosquito bites and contracting malaria:

Recommended: 

  • Use insect repellent with DEET and wearing long pants and sleeves to avoid mosquito bites
  • Use the mosquito netting provided over each bed

Optional:

  • Take a prescription anti-malarial drug (atovaquone-projuanil, doxycycline or mefloquine)
  • Treat clothing with permethrin (apply 3 days prior to travel)

Immunizations

Vaccination

Recommendations/Requirements

Routine

Up to date with all routine shots – measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT), poliovirus, etc.

Hepatitis A

One vaccine

Hepatitis B

Set of 3 vaccines (over 8 months)

Typhoid

Vaccine or pills

Recommended Packing List

Passport:

Ensure expiration date is more than 6 months past trip date

Clothing: 

  • Long sleeve shirts/pants/shoes for working on farm (these clothes will get dirty) 
  • Casual wear – mix of long and short sleeve shirts/long pants and a few pairs of shorts if desired
  • Exercise clothing 
  • Summer dresses or skirts 
  • Comfortable shoes; closed-toed and slip-on
  • Warm clothes (socks, beanie, jacket)
  • Bathing suit

Pre-treat outer clothes & socks w/permethrin (if desired)

In addition to the above items, teachers/interns may consider: 

  • Semi-professional/casual work pants (jeans, khakis) 
  • Semi-professional/casual work shirts (polos, blouses, button up shirts) 

Shoes:

  • Shower shoes/flip flops
  • Work shoes or boots (shoes that can get muddy/do well in rain and good for strenuous activity)
  • Exercise shoes  
  • Comfortable shoes for the rest of the day

Other Clothing: 

  • Sleepwear
  • Hat/Bandanas
  • Poncho or waterproof rain jacket
  • Jacket, sweatshirts or sweaters for morning/evenings which may be cooler temps

Medicines/Health:

  • Sunscreen
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Anti-malaria medication (if desired)
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets
  • Imodium
  • Ibuprofen
  • DEET insect lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Prescription meds in original containers, packed in carryon luggage

Hygiene:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet disinfectant wipes
  • Towel (optional: bring 2)                
  • Soap/Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Comb/brush
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Razor
  • Tissues
  • Women: feminine products, keeping in mind that we minimize the use of plastic on campus 

Other Suggested Items:

  • Reusable water bottle is KEY for your hydration. Potable water is always available.
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Portable charger
  • Earplugs
  • Headphones 
  • Snacks/protein bars
  • Bible/journal/books
  • Flash drive
  • Laundry hamper
  • Passport photos (2)
  • Red pens (for grading)
  • Personal cash funds for snacks, jewelry and other items sold by the students

Optional:

  • Work gloves 
  • Water bottle cleaner/filter
  • Hydration tablets 
  • Tupperware
  • Room decor (for long-term) 
  • Games/cards
  • A watch
  • Sheets/comforter/pillow case
 

During the Trip

Safety and Emergency

The TLC campus is in a safe and geographically remote mountainous area. It is part of and close to several small communities. There has never been a safety issue since campus was opened (8 years ago).  However, Honduras as a country has safety and security issues, particularly in and around the larger cities.  The vast amount of criminal activity in Honduras is focused between groups and individuals (gangs, drug trafficking) who are not interested in harming innocent people. However, always remain alert traveling anywhere in Honduras. 

Cash should be carried in safe places (small quantities in multiple locations) and don’t carry expensive items in the open, especially when not on campus.

Always travel with another person and not at night, and ensure the group leader always knows your general location. Consult LMI staff about any safety or traveling questions.

Transport to TLC from Airport

LMI staff will be at the airport to escort you to your vehicle to leave the city. U.S. dollars can be used throughout the airport, so there is no need to exchange for local currency (Lempiras).

Safety Protocol

TLC is in a very safe, rural community. It is recognized with a high level of respect and trust by all the surrounding communities. There have never been any issues, however, to ensure personal safety please follow these guidelines:

  • If leaving the TLC property be sure to coordinate with team leader and LMI administrative staff
  • Stay together with another person or group when walking anywhere outside campus
  • Wear close toed shoes when working and long pants recommended for gardens or coffee farm
  • If you suspect any risk to personal safety on campus, speak immediately to LMI staff
  • Cell phone and internet coverage is not always available off campus.  If you decide to take a hike, please bring a TLC supplied safety kit with you. This will provide you with first aid tools and a whistle in case of emergency

In case of a health emergency, staff will take you to Dr. Carolina Hernandez in Zambrano where she has a private clinic and will see you immediately. If needed LMI staff will transport to the Honduran Medical Center (one of top hospitals in the country) in Tegucigalpa. LMI also has a 24-hour US Citizens Services cell phone if requires US government involvement.  LMI also has an emergency evacuation plan if needed (thankfully, this has never been necessary.)

Other Notes:

  • Los Valles, a community located 2 miles from campus, has a police representative. Our administration can be in contact with him immediately should any situation require such a response.
  • Our campus administration takes your safety and health very seriously, and we will do everything in our power to ensure you have a safe and relaxing trip.
  • On the chance that a team member has to return to the US immediately, our staff and administration will assist with any itinerary changes and we will provide transportation to the airport.
  • LMI has built a very positive relationship and reputation with the surrounding communities. This helps promote personal safety and well-being. Please recognize this and always be respectful of the locals you may interact with.

Emergency Contact Numbers

Student Director, Karla Mendoza: 011-504-9748-9765

Assistant Student Director, Ericka Euceda : 011-504-9654-5010

Campus Director, Mizraim Tovar: 011-504-3171-5623

*The 011 is the country code and the 504 is the area code. The other 8 digits are the cell numbers.

*You only need the 011-504 from outside Honduras. 

*WhatsApp is a messaging app and is typically fastest way to be reached

Staying Healthy at TLC

  • We have a water purification system on campus.
    • Only drink the purified campus water
    • Do not use the sink water when brushing your teeth
    • DRINK LOTS OF WATER – your body may not be used to the climate or type of physical labor you are doing
    • Medications helpful for traveler’s diarrhea are: 1) Pepto Bismol and 2) Imodium.
  • There is a good supply of medicine and first aid supplies on campus
  • Use sunscreen, especially during warm months (Feb-June)
  • Notify admin@leadershipmission.org of any allergies or food restrictions at least one month prior to arrival

Drug & Alcohol Policy

TLC is a non-smoking and alcohol-free campus for students and visitors. Staff are allowed to consume alcohol in the privacy of their own homes, under the following conditions: 

They do not leave their home smelling of alcohol. 

  • They do not participate in campus activities later in the day after consuming alcohol. 
  • They are careful and considerate of students and other staff members who may be triggered by alcohol consumption.
  • They are responsible not to get drunk at any point on campus.
  • If any of these conditions are not met, staff are liable to lose their privilege to drink alcohol on campus; this is up to the discretion of the Campus Leadership team.
  • When a staff member is leading or participating in an LMI-sponsored trip off campus, alcohol consumption is prohibited. 

Drug consumption is strictly prohibited for all staff members both on and off campus. 

Discrimination and Harassment Prevention

LMI is committed to providing a safe environment that is free from harassment. LMI students, staff, workers, mission team members, board members and volunteers (collectively “team members”) are entitled to work, be educated or spend time in an environment that is free from harassment of any kind. TLC is committed to maintaining a harassment-free environment and provides equal opportunities to all without regard to race, sex, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or preference, gender identity or expression, national origin or ethnicity, age, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, disability, or veteran status, in accordance with applicable laws.

Discrimination and harassment on LMI’s campus will not be tolerated. LMI adheres to strong ethical standards and practices. To support this effort and maintain a safe and healthy culture and consistent processes, LMI follows U.S. guidelines and regulations. It is strictly against LMI policy for any team member to harass another team member of LMI, or for any team member of LMI to harass anyone on or near campus or in an LMI related activity off campus.

Team members may not use LMI communications systems to include the internet in any manner that may be considered to be harassment. Additionally, retaliation against anyone who reports harassment and discrimination or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Team members are encouraged to report harassment. Cooperation during investigations is expected. LMI leadership is dedicated to strongly and swiftly addressing complaints of harassment and discrimination within the organization.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant, student, volunteer, employee, team member) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

If any team member believes that they have been subject to harassment, they should:

  • If comfortable doing so, ask the individual engaging in the harassing behavior to stop.
  • Make a written record of the date, time, and nature of the incident(s) and the names of any witnesses; and must
  • Report the incident to the Campus Leadership, Executive Director or an LMI Board Member

When a matter involving harassment or discrimination has been reported or has come to the attention of a supervisor, it will be promptly investigated. Investigating a complaint may involve notifying the person against whom the complaint was alleged. Interviews with the person reporting the grievance and witnesses may take place. 

Daily Schedule

All activities are recommended for volunteers, but involvement is flexible and optional.

Team Gift Giving

All visitors and teachers coming to The Leadership Center are able to bring gifts for the organization and students, should they desire to do so. While this is not the expectation of the organization, it is something that many teams have found joy in, and thus, the organization is happy to accept the generosity of teams. We recognize that your most generous gift is your time and talents that you contribute while you are on campus (and at home.)

With that said, we would like to make sure that the generosity of teams is maximized by ensuring that all gifts provide practical support to the organization and students AND are given in a manner that reduces the chance of conflict or jealousy among our students. Therefore, all teams are encouraged to adhere to the following guidelines regarding gifts:

  • If a team would like to bring gifts, please communicate with our Campus Director (mizraim@leadershipmission.org) or Student Director (karla@leadershipmission.org) for a list of most needed items.
  • It is important that gifts from teams and visitors be given to all students at the same time. We recommend that it be done in a group setting – perhaps after a team led seminar or activity, at a bonfire, or in a special time arranged by Campus Leadership. We also recommend that you bring only one gift per student.
  • If an individual desires to bring additional gifts (outside the list provided), please check with Campus Leadership to make sure the desired gift is appropriate AND that it will be given to all students in a culturally sensitive manner. Our hope is to create a culture where giving and receiving is done in a manner that is in line with the values and work ethic that is being taught to our students.
  • Generally speaking, gifts outside the recommended list should be focused on creating a relationship-building experience with the students rather than a “hand-off” of items. For example, all of our students benefit from a team sponsoring a bonfire with activities, snacks, and the opportunity to build relationships more than the gift of expensive creams and lotions.
  • Please refrain from giving gifts to individual students. It can cause conflict and jealousy among students, something the organization wishes to avoid. (Exception: student sponsors who come on teams are encouraged to bring a small gift for the student they sponsor)

If you have any questions related to how you can be generous to the organization and students, please communicate directly with our Campus Leadership team. They are more than happy to ensure that each team and visitor has a positive giving experience while maintaining healthy relationships and expectations among our students.

We are grateful for your generosity. Thank you!