Name: Nadia Meheidli and Onya Roehrig
Age: 28 and 34
Hometown: Dearborn and Clinton Township, Michigan
Nationality: United States and United States
Languages spoken: English and Arabic (intermediate), English
Occupation: Real Estate Analyst & Associate Asset Manager at Bluerock Real Estate and Internal Auditor at Kelly Services
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for Disadvantaged Youth in Cartago, Costa Rica
Duration: 3 weeks
Start month: August 2018
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
It has always been a dream of ours to volunteer abroad. After completing research, we came across UBELONG and we were instantly attracted to their mission and the programs offered. So, we reached out to UBELONG and after a couple conversations we decided this was the program we wanted to work with. UBELONG’s programs were reasonably priced, well-structured and organized. We are very happy with our choice of working with UBELONG and we recommend it to anyone looking for a program to volunteer with.
What impact did you make on your volunteer project?
We think we made a positive impact on the children and mothers who came to the center for a place to eat and rest. We welcomed them with smiles and a friendly attitude and made sure they felt comfortable with us. We were also a significant help to the ladies that run the center. We cooked and cleaned and we helped out in any way that we can. We are also now very good friends with the ladies that run the center.
How did you grow personally during your volunteer trip?
This trip taught us so many things. We learned to appreciate what we have, and we learned how important it is to help others in need. We were also exposed to a new country and culture which was very interesting and rewarding. We feel this trip taught us to step out of our comfort zone and taught us to appreciate the little things in life. It also made us reflect on people. Even though we live thousands of miles away, and come from different cultures, when it comes down to it, the most important things in everyone’s lives are always their family and those they love.
In a sentence or less, how would you sum up your volunteer experience?
It was a very rewarding and life-changing experience.
The ladies at the center treated us like we were family and they went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable. They invited us to their homes and we had coffee and cake with them. We met their families and they all welcomed us warmly. It was also Nadia’s birthday during the trip and they bought cake and sang happy birthday for her. Our host family was also very caring and friendly. We used to eat dinner together and share stories about our day.
We are very thankful for working with the local team and having Lucia being our guide. She was able to connect us with a veterinary office that we volunteered at our last week there. Because of this, we were able to bring back a part of Costa Rica home. While walking some of the dogs there, we found a stray dog on the street that we both fell in love with. We named him Tico (nickname used to say you are Costa Rican) and we worked with the veterinarian on his papers to bring him back to the States. He is now in the USA living with Onya but visits Nadia on the weekends. We feel so blessed that we met Tico and he will always be our piece of Costa Rica at home with us.
Coffee tasting experience in Cartago, Costa Rica!