An amazing opportunity awaits in Central America to build and meet new people in one of the most culturally diverse countries in the Western Hemisphere. This trip welcomes anyone with an open mind and a desire to help those in need of decent housing. No special building skills are required. This trip will be to the Western Highlands region to the Huehuetenango affiliate, which borders Mexico. It is in the beautiful Cuchumatanes Mountains, which makes it sunny and bright during the day and refreshingly cool at night.
Guatemala is located in Central America. It borders the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize. Volcanic peaks, scenic coastlines and a forested mountain interior shape the brilliance of the Guatemalan landscape.
Guatemala is a small country in Central America with an estimated population of 13 million. It hosts a tropical climate along the lower elevations and cooler weather in the mountains. The country is full of rich indigenous culture and Spanish traditions. However, Guatemala also has a poverty rate of nearly 80 percent and a housing deficit of about 1.5 million units.
About Habitat for Humanity Guatemala
Since its founding in 1979, Habitat Guatemala has built more than 33,000 homes, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for Guatemalans in need of housing. Structured as a community organization that includes the participation of more than 700 local volunteers, Habitat specializes in working with families that have no access to the national financing system (banks, cooperatives, etc.) and who are living in inadequate conditions.
HFH Guatemala constructs earthquake-resistant houses made with concrete floors, block walls and corrugated zinc roofs. Habitat has a presence in all Guatemala’s departments, working with more than 205 local committees in 260 communities.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers will generally be involved in full home constructions. At times, volunteers may be involved in improvements, finish/conclusions, repairs and additions/expansions. During construction days, they will be trained to use the basic construction tools provided, and they will learn the types of housing they are going to be working on. Technical supervisors and masons will be present every day on the work site to guide the construction. They will provide construction goals every day and verbal reports of the progress made.
To guarantee the safety of all team members, the national office will provide an emergency and evacuation plan at every work site. There will also be bathrooms with water and soap and designated resting areas with chairs and drinkable water near every build site.
Day 1 (Arrival day, typically Saturday): Greeted at the airport by Habitat Guatemala staff; shuttles to Antigua if team arrives before 5 p.m., if not stay in Guatemala City.
Day 2 (Sunday): Orientation with Habitat Guatemala staff member; travel to project site; welcome ceremony with families and Habitat staff; dinner.
Days 3-7 (Work days, Monday-Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. with lunch on-site (in the rainy season or hot areas the work days will start earlier); free time after work to clean up; supper of typical Guatemalan food; time for team activities.
Day 8 (Saturday): Travel back to Antigua; free time; overnight in Antigua.
Day 9 (Final day, Sunday): Departure day.
Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week, including cultural experiences with affiliate staff, such as traditional dances, market tours, boat rides, etc., as well as a walking tour of host city and farewell ceremony.
Hotels include double- or triple-occupancy rooms and are simple and basic and typically located near the project site. Guatemala’s climate can be humid in some areas, and so rooms in some areas may smell a bit musty. Hot water is typically provided; however, the water heating systems may not work as well as in the volunteers’ home countries. Hotel rooms will be cleaned and maintained daily and are screened for safety and comfort.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)
Build a better world: Take the Global Village Challenge
Habitat for Humanity International is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million in the coming year to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story and building a better world!
Pete O’Flaherty works as a police dispatcher where he lives in Delaware, Ohio. He has traveled extensively in Mexico and Central America. He studied Spanish in Mexico while finishing a degree in Anthropology, worked on a military medical team to Honduras, led several groups to Tikal and taught college in Belize. His first Habitat experience was to Huehuetenango and he was involved with 10 Habitat trips to Mexico and Guatemala between 1989 and 1999, leading many of them. Since then, he has been involved with local affiliates and is currently a weekly volunteer at his local Habitat ReStore.
If you have any questions please contact Pete at email@example.com.