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Volunteer in Mexico
Teen Travel

Volunteer Teaching Orphans in Mexico

Shh-erry! Sherry!” I stop by Juan’s desk, checking to see if his tongue is in the right place. Juan can’t seem to distinguish the hard sound of “ch” from the soft sound of “sh.” I point toward my finger-painted picture of a cherry and sound it out for him. I realize that learning English is actually really difficult. Then again, so is teaching it. Especially when you have to teach it in Spanish.

My home away from home has been in La Casa Hogar, an orphanage brimming with bright-eyed children. Their eyebrows are continually furrowed as they look up at me, trying to decipher the many sounds of the complicated English alphabet.

After they have learned their ABCs I move on to teaching parts of the body. Simón Dice, or Simon Says, is a big hit, but not as much as “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” I sing enthusiastically with the kids, but when I lower my volume to better hear their pronunciation, they lose confidence and their voices falter. So we start over again. Eventually everyone can sing the verses on their own, and the orphanage directors applaud with delight.

I step back and watch my eager pupils, standing on their tippy toes, their heads high, their voices full of pride in mastering something new. While my friends back home are spending their summer vacation swimming, reading, going to the movies, and eating out, I am happy to be at La Casa Hogar. I feel as though, in some small way, I have opened modest doors for these kids. Although today they can only recite the parts of the body in English, I envision tomorrow’s doctors, teachers, lawyers, writers, ambassadors, engineers, and leaders.

For fluent Spanish speakers interested in volunteering at locatons such as La Casa Hogar, visit the following website for orphanages by region.