Traveling abroad is a goal for many high school students, but is typically put off until college. Seniors Lindsay Broderick and Julia Mahroos were fortunate enough to be able to go on mission trips this summer to Costa Rica and Belize. They helped out young children in orphanages and taught some English.
Broderick describes her experience in Costa Rica as life changing. “When I came home, I honestly felt guilt for everything I had. I saw that these kids were living with the bare minimum. They barely had a roof over their head, and the clothes they were wearing were hanging off of them. Hearing people complain about not getting the new Michael Kors watch is now absurd t me. How could you be upset about not getting a designer watch when some kids are grateful to get the clothes that don’t even fit them and even torn? I realized that all the petty things that used to upset me don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
The focus of the volunteer work Broderick did was at an elementary school in Cartago. In the two weeks she and the other volunteers were there, they fixed chairs tables and desks, repainted walls, and removed hazards from play areas and school grounds. They also would cook for the kids, do arts and crafts or help teachers keep students focused in class. The volunteers had a hand in teaching English to first and second graders, while building relationships with the young Costa Ricans.
Along with the elementary school, Broderick worked at an orphanage, playing games such as soccer and helping to clean up the areas they lived. “We had to clean up the closets of kids that had lived there years before; we did laundry and even made meals. The ages ranged from age 4-17, but many of them were around 10.”
Mahroos traveled to Belize with thirty five other volunteers from her church, Vertical Church in West Haven. “We built a community center without modern technology. We had to do everything by hand, mixing cement, and transporting cinder blocks by hand. We also did a summer camp for the local kids. We put on skits and did arts and crafts and sang songs. It was amazing seeing how intrigued the kids were, by us simply interacting with them.”
Mahroos says she sees life with a whole new perspective now. “When arriving back in the states, it felt amazing to be in an even remotely air conditioned building. I began to appreciate even the simplest of things such as running water, flushing toilets, and cell phone service. I now view everyday as a blessing and truly understand how fortunate I am.”
These experiences that Broderick and Mahroos had, have affected the way they now live their life. Both now have a more narrowed down focus on what’s important to them. Their trips have now become a fundamental part of who both of them are.