Eugénie, a Sacred Heart volunteer from France, recounts her ten months volunteering in Mexico. Read the original article (in French)
If I had to pick one word to describe my Voluntary Service, it would be “Apertura”! (Which means “openness” in Spanish).
The community never made me feel like a stranger
Whatever the situation, or the people I met, I was always welcomed with open arms by the families, the children, the sisters… Mexicans have an openness of heart that touched me deeply.
For example, everyone hugs each other to say hello, whether they are friends or strangers! And the bedroom doors are never closed to let others know they are always welcome.
I also remember my first meeting with the children when we were animating games in the streets. I didn’t speak a word of Spanish at the time, but they didn’t care if I understood or not: all they wanted to do was welcome me by holding on to me and jumping into my arms. I was already a friend to them, even though they didn't know me.
What love I received that day!
It was this warm welcome and thousands of open arms that taught me to open up in return. Little by little, I crossed the 'borders' of cultural differences and poverty and was able to deepen my friendship with the moms at school and the children, by listening to them and confiding in them.
Through them and with them, I have learned to open my heart, to let in the neighbor that Christ asks us to love!
It is precisely this open heart of the Sacred Heart that has accompanied me throughout this life experience, of new people, friendships, service and faith. I have learned from the openness of my neighbor to open my own heart and find God!