Traveling to another country can be intimidating. Imagine moving to another country! I am so impressed with how quickly Kylee and Aaron committed to living abroad for a year.
From living, teaching, and playing at the orphanage, they’ve had their hands full of kids every day for the last couple of months. Here’s what they have to say about their experience so far:
Kylee: Before moving down to Mexico I was extremely unsure how things would go. The problems that rushed through my head were wild. Who am I going to live with? Who am I going to hang out with? Will I feel safe? Will I miss home?
Aaron: There were certainly some difficulties in moving to a different country, as I’m sure everyone would understand. For me, I was worried about being able to stay in touch with friends and family from home, as the orphanage is just enough removed from any large cities to make you wonder if cell reception will work.
Can you relate to our volunteers, Kylee and Aaron? They faced a lot of doubts and worries before moving to Mexico. But, after arriving, those fears went away.
Kylee: These questions faded so quickly when I arrived. This is my home, these are my people, they welcomed me so quickly. It didn’t matter who I lived with because I have learned that there is room to meet new people and learn about them through togetherness. And I have never felt safer than I do with all my friends around me in a community here. The community I have gained through being here is one I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am so grateful that I didn’t let those fear-filled questions stop me from experiencing one of the greatest things I could receive in this life: relationships.
If there’s one thing I envy Kylee and Aaron about more than anything, it’s the relationships they’re building. They’re not only connecting deeply with the kids, but with the orphanage staff as well.
Aaron: I love getting to call this place home! It doesn’t feel like I’m leaving right away; I can invest in relationships and plant myself here!
You might assume that Kylee and Aaron were fluent in Spanish because they were so willing to move to Mexico. In fact, neither of them spoke Spanish before they arrived. Many of our volunteers can’t speak Spanish but are still able to communicate with the kids. This was definitely a concern Aaron faced before coming down.
Aaron: There have been some tough moments where I haven’t been able to communicate as I wished, but overall, everyone has been very patient, understanding, and appreciative of the fact that we are here to help as much as we can. There are enough English speakers around to get by, and it also serves as great motivation to improve my Spanish every day. You get quite used to having some dysfunctional conversations with the kids here, but most of the time you can just laugh it off and have a great time with them nevertheless.
One time, a girl in my class tried to use my phone to translate a sentence and it came back as “How beautiful you are, you are cheating but I miss you here.” Can’t say I understand, but I certainly laughed!
While at the orphanage, Kylee and Aaron are assisting the teachers and tutors in school. Since all the kids are doing classes at home, there’s a need for extra hands to help! Kylee is supporting Kindergarten through 3rd grade and Aaron is supporting 6th grade. They will also be teaching enrichment activities like swimming lessons, cooking, personal finance, English, computer literacy, and more! Many of our extended volunteers spend their service time like this. No matter what you do as an extended volunteer, you’ll have the chance to spend time with the children.
Before her move, Kylee was worried that she wouldn’t have the skills to make a difference. Questions like, “What can I give to this place? What do I even have to offer? Am I good enough to be helping here?” were constantly on her mind.
Kylee: The one thing I have learned is that you are completely accepted as who you are here by the kids and house parents. They make many of these daring questions flee so quickly. They don’t care where you came from or where you are going, they just want you to be here with them. All they want is someone who will love them like a brother or sister and just be here.
Aaron: Every day is an adventure! I have learned to fully pay attention to what is right in front of me, as opposed to being distracted by other things. There are so many great and funny moments in every day that I’m always on my toes!
When they’re not busy at the orphanage, Kylee and Aaron love exploring the nearby area. They go to the beach, drive around town, play soccer with the kids, and immerse themselves in the culture.
Aaron: When I heard about the opportunity to live at an orphanage, I couldn’t pass it up. I love working with kids, exploring new cultures, trying to learn Spanish, and eating all the street tacos I can find!
There will always be doubts and concerns when it comes to changing your life in a significant way, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it your all.
Kylee: Some logistical questions come to mind nowadays such as how will I pay for things without a steady income? This question comes often and there is no solid answer besides just give all you got and the rest will fall into place.
There is something that you can gain from giving your time and energy without financial gain that will make your heart grow and change in so many ways. I will forever be grateful for the experience I have received here.
We are so blessed to have Kylee and Aaron serving with us. They are truly lifting orphans from surviving to thriving! If you’re interested in becoming an extended volunteer, they couldn’t recommend it more.
Kylee: If you want to at all, make it happen! It is worth every ounce of energy you put in! I would also say, A Child’s Hope will help you find where you fit in, whether that is music, sports, cooking, playing, etc. they have a place for you!
Aaron: There were some fears for me coming down, but fear will be present no matter what adventure you step into. That’s part of the reason it’s so exciting! My eyes have been opened to how different life can be, and how content people can be with whatever they have. I’ve only been at Rancho for a few weeks, but can’t wait to be here for the school year! A Child’s Hope has helped me fit in and placed me where I am needed the most. I couldn’t recommend volunteering with A Child’s Hope enough! Don’t take my word for it, though; come and experience it for yourself!
If you have any questions about our Extended Volunteer Program, you can learn more here. We have so many different opportunities for you to serve.