Marine, a Sacred Heart volunteer from France, recounts her two months volunteering in Chile. Read the original article (in French)
I went on an international mission trip to Reñaca Alto, Chile, and it was an incredible experience!
For two months, I lived in an international home with four sisters: two Mexican sisters, one Chilean sister, and one Spanish sister. I loved having them as roommates! I slowed down and took the time to do simple things like spend a morning making a home-cooked meal from scratch (half of the ingredients came straight from the garden), start the day by going to chapel and reading the Bible and praying. Every day I had a different mission: teaching English to parents, working in a school where I helped some students who couldn't read or write after two years of the pandemic. I would have them discover a bit of France, its culture. I would also talk to them about airplanes (my main interest). I also helped a sister develop composting by collecting organic waste bins from certain families and redistributing the soil that it became so that they could plant their own vegetable garden. Once a week, I would go to Valparaiso to cook meals that we would distribute to poor on the streets. We also organized activities for the kids: playing games, helping them with their schoolwork and even meditating with them!
What’s incredible is that I arrived in Chile with no particular expectations, knowing almost nothing about the missions I would be doing, and without even knowing it, what I was doing was exactly what I wanted! I hoped to be useful, and I was because I was able to teach reading and writing to two 12-year-old boys who had severe educational delays. I became friends with amazing people with huge hearts, despite all the hard things they’ve been through. But overall, I learned that simplicity is the key to happiness.