Santa Elena, Peten
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 50+
Host ID: 13517
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Last Updated: December 5, 2013
We opened November 2011. Our first year we provided 6,820 kilometers of bicycle tours, 512 hours of English classes, planted 360 trees and 242 organic veggie gardens, raised 36 chickens and 5 goats, brought hundreds of participants from 28 different countries into our Partner Communities, benefiting more than 1500 families and dozens of locally-owned small businesses.
During our first year, we removed more than a ton of garbage from our Partner Communities, opened two new Community Centers, provided the first non-profit ecotourism trips to Tikal, El Mirador and, of course, our secret spots all around Lake Peten Itza. With the support of our Partner Communities and hundreds of participants, our first year was a success.
We are a cooperative of Guatemalan women, a registered Guatemalan non-profit and a pending 501(c)3 --- an association of family, friends and neighbors who serve their community and nature. Every cent that enters our programs and projects goes directly to communities, programs and projects that cultivate good things, buenas cosas.
Good Water - water quality for the rural poor of Guatemala is in a sad state. Poor water quality is a major cause of illness and disease. Work with us to produce, manufacture and distribute concrete/ceramic water filters to Guatemalan families. Help us improve the quality of their drinking water, reduce disease and illnesses. Good water is a Good Thing.
Dulce Refugio - looking for an opportunity to participate in an elder-care program, consider this. Mi Dulce Refugio is a not-for-profit, elder-care facility with 12 satellite facilities located throughout Guatemala. Through our partnership with Mi Dulce Refugio San Benito, you'll be helping some awesome people with some great stories to live better, fuller and more productive lives.
Adopta Tree - It all started with a bag of seeds. A few years ago a friend of ours gave us a bag of seeds. The seeds were from the guanacasta - beautiful trees. We filled a large white bowl with the seeds and they sat on our table. It felt good to put your hands in all those seeds. Years later, we planted the seeds and had a bunch of guanacasta trees. Last year we grew 1,000 trees and more than offset our carbon footprint.
Clean Stoves - The majority of the people in Guatemala use firewood to cook. Very few families in our barrio have a proper cook stove, wasting wood/time/money and filling their homes with carcinogens. We are helping with construction and installation of ultra-efficient, low-cost, home-made wood stoves. These stoves burn 75% less wood, save money and drastically reduce pollution.
English for All - We work with our Partner Communities and their local elementary schools to bring them native English speakers to help teach conversational English. These English classes emphasize fun, songs, games.
Build Good - Many of the homes in Guatemala are little more than walls of sticks and black plastic covered by a few sheets of rusted galvanized sheet metal. Handy-person projects abound.
Organic Gardens - Organic gardens average 3x3 meters and are self-sustaining through community and volunteer participation. Produce from our organic gardens is eaten, shared and excess is sold to support our various non-profit programs and projects: English classes, clean-burning stoves, construction, tree adoption and more. If you like to garden, this is a perfect for you.
Happy Animals - Our free-range/organic chicken and goat project provides cheese, eggs and poultry for our community. Goats are also loaned/rented to landowners to eat weeds, instead of chopping and burning. Of course, our chickens and goats are an excellent source of 100% organic fertilizer for our organic gardens.
Good Doctors - We work with help and the generous support of medical facilities and health-care professionals of Peten Guatemala. Certification and a minimum of intermediate Spanish fluency is required to participate in this program. Minimum 4 week commitment. Bringing medical equipment, supplies and drugs is most appreciated. Please consider soliciting donations from your friends and associates.
Good Nurses - We work with help and the generous support of medical facilities and health-care professionals of Peten Guatemala. Certification and a minimum of intermediate Spanish fluency is required to participate in this program. Minimum 4 week commitment. Bringing medical equipment, supplies and drugs is most appreciated. Please consider soliciting donations from your friends and associates.
Good Teachers - With the generous support of educational facilities and education professionals of Peten Guatemala. Certification and a minimum of intermediate Spanish fluency is required to participate in this program. Minimum 4 week commitment.
Bikes for Good - this program has two main focus points, giving kids in our Partner Communities something good to do and encouraging clean/healthy transportation in our Partner Communities. If you like to ride bikes, if you like to work on bikes, if you like the idea of one less car and alternative transportation, yo will love this program: bike races and training rides, bicycle maintenance and repair, bike-based eco-tourism development, bike share and more.
HelpXers work 4hrs per day, 5 days per week and assist as needed. Your help will be needed in any of the above projects, chickens, gardens, goats, general up-keep and maintenance. You'll be assigned where you're needed most.
HelpXers stay in one of our two different Community Centers or homestay with a local family in their assigned Partner Community. In either case, HelpXers are provided a clean, safe, sheltered space for their sleeping bag/mat and personal items, shared bath/shower and given three typical Guatemalan family meals each day. Internet is available for FREE at our Community Centers.
Our program, our barrio and our Partner Communities are family environments, participating HelpXers understand what that means and act accordingly.
Orientation / Training
On arrival, you will spend the first day or three in orientation / training. The language and culture of Peten Guatemala is most likely different than what you are accustomed. Our volunteers are thoroughly briefed about living in Peten Guatemala. Your assigned volunteer program will also include education and training. You will be shown all you need to know. But, if you have knowledge, skills or suggestions that will improve our program, we are all ears!
4hrs per day of volunteer activities consisting of two shifts of 2hrs and a 3hr break for lunch.
Breakfast (desayuno) with your homestay family is the start of each day. We breakfast around 7AM-8AM and so do most of our homestay families in our barrio. Breakfast is an important part of family-life in Peten and you should not miss breakfast.
9AM-11Noon participating in your assigned volunteer program.
Lunch (almuerzo) is served at 12Noon. Most people take a nap after they eat, siesta. This is a good time to find a shady spot with a hammock and listen to the birds, read a book or just hang with friends and talk a great time to practice your Spanish, chismosiando/gossiping with new friends in the barrio.
2PM-4PM participating in your assigned volunteer program.
Dinner (cena) with your homestay family can be anytime. We have dinner 6-7PM and so do most of our homestay families in our barrio.
Saturdays are half-days. We work until 10 or 12 and then we go to the lake, swim, visit Mayan ruins/caves, explore the local jungle or do nothing but lay in a hammock and drink beer or whatever.
Any day you are not participating in your HelpX Volunteer Program is a Break Day. There are lots of great things to experience all over Peten and well be happy to help you experience it all.
Peace, Love and Buenas Cosas!
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