Last year Marielle Wils, a young Dutch woman of 27 years old, decided to go to Argentina to learn Spanish and do volunteer work in Buenos Aires. Marielle is interested in the living situations of homeless children in Argentina and was happy to be placed at a shelter for young children until the age of 12.
But, as she said: “I really needed a few days to get usedto the place, it was not what I expected at all. The home was actually a bit dirty and very small for the amount of children living there. But of course, all of that is part of the experience, I know that now”.
Besides her passion for children, en for teaching children, Marielle loves to gain more knowledge through traveling the world and getting in contact with other cultures. She first took four weeks of Spanish lesson, in order to learn some Spanish, and she started with the volunteer placement after that, for another four weeks. Marielle was amazed by how excited the children were every time she arrived at the shelter. She really saw them enjoying all the extra attention they received from this foreign volunteer, and the new games they played together. It only took a few days to build a relationship with the kids and she loved to see them smiling so much. Due to the language barrier, she had some difficulties with communicating with them, but for the children this was no problem at all. Marielle and another volunteer from the Spanish school, Gabriela, brought empty plastic bottles and an empty box of eggs which they used to make all kind of silly games. But the children loved it and were sad when Marielle and Gabriela had to leave.
“We had to take a lot of initiative ourselves, and it was a wonderful experience. I realized that we didn’t need a lot, to have a great time together. This is an imporrtant lesson for myself, because I have to be more happy about everything I have and all the opportunities I get in life”, Marielle says.
Volunteer work in Buenos Aires is a wonderful experience, it is all about the little differences you make”.