For One Volunteer, Every Moment Counts at NPH
Scarleth Mendieta recounts her experiences at NPH Peru as an international volunteer from Nicaragua.
October 23, 2019 - Peru
The decision to volunteer outside of my country has been a very enriching experience for me, although before arriving at NPH Peru, I was very anxious and fearful of what was to come. In Nicaragua I had the opportunity to volunteer in communities and schools supporting different projects, but being part of NPH is something completely different.
We have the opportunity to share much more time with the children, which allows us to get to know them better, to earn from them, and to see how they grow during the time we are here, enjoying every moment together.
I really enjoy spending time with the girls from the Señor de los Milagros home for 16 to 26 year old. We always share a lot while I help them with homework, have dinner together or watch TV, or help them practice for a dance performance. We also have other activities, such as pajama parties, movie nights, cooking nights, or we simply lie on the grass enjoying the few hours of sunshine during the Peruvian winters.
Having the opportunity to listen to the children's stories and help them write about their experiences has opened my eyes to the reality of extreme poverty that exists in rural areas of Peru, since most of the children's families are from these areas of the country. Scant job opportunities means that most family members have to work in agricultural fields and leave their children alone for several hours a day.
Sharing so much time with the girls has helped me understand the different realities and precarious conditions that each one experienced before arriving at NPH Peru. For example, one girl had to work from a very young age in order to help her mother and sisters to put food on the table each day. She worked up until her arrival at NPH. Since then, she has had access to quality education and her grades have been incredible. She is close to graduating from university. This is thanks to the support and opportunity that the education programs at NPH have provided.
More than anything, it really helps me understand how NPH supports these children and makes a great difference in their lives.
During the seven months that I have been here, I have learned to be much more patient with the children and to expand my creativity skills when developing activities or encouraging children to smile for a photograph. I laugh with them about the things they get into and enjoy the moments we have together.
Being away from my home country makes me miss my family and friends, but each time I return to NPH after a weekend of rest, I feel an immense flood of warmth from the home.
Here at NPH Peru, every moment really does count.
Interested in being an international volunteer like Scarleth Mendieta and supporting our youth? Learn more about our volunteer program at nph.org.