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El Salvador

February 6, 2010 to February 14, 2010

Help build houses and dreams with a diverse, dedicated, hard-working and fun-loving team from around the world in beautiful El Salvador. You will experience the unforgettable memories of El Salvadoran hospitality, culture and family life as you work side-by-side with families to build their homes. As you change their lives, you may also change yourself in the process!

About El Salvador
El Salvador is located in Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras. It is the smallest and most densely populated of the Central American countries. Two volcanic chains run down its center, rising from fertile plateaus that otherwise characterize the countryside.

The country’s climate is tropical with a rainy season (May to October) and dry season (November to April). It is tropical on the coast and temperate in uplands. Daytime temperatures vary little, reaching around 86 degrees F in November and 93 degrees F in March and April.

About Habitat for Humanity El Salvador
Since 1992, Habitat for Humanity El Salvador has built more than 5,000 houses, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 25,000 Salvadorans. HFH El Salvador works with the central office in San Salvador and six regional’s offices in Santa Ana, Sonsonate, Usulután, La Paz, San Vicente and San Salvador.

The earthquake-resistant houses are made of concrete blocks and structural steel reinforcement. The roofs are made of fiber-cement sheeting and the floors of cement brick. They have two bedrooms, a living room, a dining room and a latrine or toilet. Windows are shutter type and protected by steel bars to provide adequate lighting, ventilation and security.

For families who are unable to afford the standard model, there is another housing option called the “Progressive Model.” Depending on the family’s future resources, these houses may be extended and improved in stages. This model is available in two sizes: a 40-square-meter construction area (US$2,750) or a 30-square-meter construction area (US$2,100).

For more information, visit

Types of construction for volunteers
Global Village volunteers may work in all stages of construction, from digging foundations to painting the houses. Regardless of what stage the house is in when the team arrives, responsibilities will likely include carrying bricks, mixing cement, compacting dirt and moving materials.

On the work site, volunteers will find portable bathrooms and designated resting areas with drinkable water. The team will be supervised by technical advisors and construction experts, and they will present written construction goals every day. Each volunteer will be provided with a pocket-size contact card plus emergency and evacuation plans.

Standard itinerary
(9-day itinerary)

Day 1, typically Saturday (arrival day)
: Greeted at San Salvador airport by Habitat El Salvador staff; overnight in San Salvador.
Day 2, Sunday
: Transported to host program; orientation and welcome.
Days 3–7, Monday–Friday (workdays)
: Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; supper of typical Salvadoran food; time for team activities.
Day 8, Saturday
: Travel to San Salvador; free time; final team dinner
Day 9, Sunday
: Departure day.

Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week, including cultural experiences with host program, such as traditional dance, agricultural and architectural tours, typical food preparation and a farewell activity.

Habitat El Salvador will determine the best lodging option for Global Village teams. Work teams usually stay in hotels, retreat centers or dorm-style accommodations that are basic, safe and clean. The team will stay two to four people per room. Typically rooms are equipped with a private bathroom, though in some locations, only shared bathrooms are available. Volunteers are not required to bring any bedding, but will need to pack a towel.

Trip cost
Trip cost includes: donation to the Habitat host program and HFHI; meals; accommodations; transport (excluding trip participant air fare); medical emergency evacuation and trip cancellation insurance; some local cultural activities and team coordination and orientation materials. The team leader’s trip cost and estimated air fare may be included in the trip budget. The trip cost does not include trip participant air fare, R&R activities or visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations).

Team leaders
Don Hayes and Mike Ward are two friends who have led numerous GV trips in the past, starting with their days working together as Keene State College staff; they led college teams to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Don has led a total of 10 teams to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Vermont, and Mike has co-led four trips and has been a member on two trips with Don. Don and Mike love meeting people, have a sense of adventure and love to draw new people into the unique excitement and personal growth of a Global Village build.

If interested in this GV trip, contact Don and Mike at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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