How long have you been part of the team at Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS)? What is your role?
Alex: I have been working with CCS since January of 2008, so 5.5 years. I am a Program Site Specialist for the Peru and India Programs.
What are your top tips for someone considering volunteering with CCS in Peru or India?
Alex:Top tips: be flexible and go with an open mind and open heart! Remember you are an international volunteer to not only help and serve, but also to learn and get educated from local community members.
What inspires you most on a daily basis?
Alex: I want others to do what I have done. It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about the relationships we form when we choose to give back and grow in the international scene. Even after 13 years of volunteering abroad, I am still learning. The local people remind you about the basics that are so easily forgotten: smile when someone smiles at you, enjoy the sunshine when you're walking through the park, or maybe even make the lunch hour more enjoyable by singing the national anthem in a deep baritone voice with another male volunteer just so the kids will laugh. It spices things up. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new!
What is the most moving story you've heard from another volunteer?
Alex: Volunteering at a home for children with disabilities can be challenging and yet rewarding. A volunteer from Guatemala and I were discussing how these sweet kids reminded us to keep life simple, but to get out of our comfort zone. And just when you think you have done all that you can do, given all that you can give, you are surprised by the boy who races down the hallway in his wheelchair and about 10 feet before he gets to you, he stops spinning his wheels and just glides to you with open arms to give you a great big goodbye hug. That's why we do what we do. That's why you take a life-changing trip like this.