Below is a reflection from Gina Reis who has volunteered at NPH Mexico. Thank you to Gina and ALL our volunteers for your support!
What a difference a few months can make; from living with one roommate in a quaint yet comfortable apartment in Minneapolis, to sharing simple living quarters with ten others in a small town in central Mexico. From eating a variety of different types of cuisine to a steady diet of beans, rice, and tortillas. From working as a video editor, spending a steady 40 hours a week alone in a dark, chilly editing suite, to working roughly 70 hours a week as a caregiver to 32 girls, constantly surrounded by children at every point in my day.
I started my yearlong adventure as a caregiver at Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, an orphanage in Miacatlan, Mexico, in the beginning of January, completely excited for this new experience and yet utterly terrified for this complete change ahead of me. As a caregiver, I help watch over a section of 32 girls, ages 9 to 12. I wake them up in the morning, serve them food, help with homework, check chores, teach English...so I guess you could say I am like a mom to these girls!
One of my girls took me aside this past May to wish me a happy Mother's Day - saying that she was thankful for all that I do for her and that she loved me so much. She also sang me "Las Mañanitas", the traditional tune they sing here on birthdays and special celebrations. This kind gesture, along with a dinner planned by the male employees of the house AND a special program put on by the kids, really had me stop and realize just what it is I really do here at the home. Yes, I am here to help with homework and check chores, but as a volunteer here my main job is to give love to the girls - let them know they are appreciated and special, and to be that loving mother figure that many of them do not have.My life has done a 180 since moving here to NPH. The food isn't the same and the culture is different in so many ways, but what has changed the most is who I center my life around. It's no longer about me; what am I going to do today? What do I need? No. Now, my life is completely centered around my girls. I've had some of the best days of my life here, and some of the most challenging ones. This whole 'mom' thing is no easy feat! But boy, is it rewarding.