A Guatemala Volun-Tour: 7 Days to Have Fun and Help People

I have had the great pleasure during this past week to hostess a three-person Volun-tour. The volunteers, Mary, Ashley, and Chip arrived early last Saturday morning to begin a week of activities that are planned specifically to benefit the community of El Remate while providing an interesting, educational and entertaining week for the volunteer.



The week began with a tour of Project Ix-canaan, which ended up at the Women’s Center where, after a tour of the Forest Garden, the group learned and practiced making (and eating) tortillas

followed by a delicious tipico lunch of tamales and bean salad on tostadas provided by the Grupo Femenino Ix-canaan
After lunch, the group had a lesson in backstrap weaving with Ruth, a local weaver
At the end of their trip, each member of the group received a small piece of Mayan fabric that was woven throughout their journey.
Mid-afternoon, they all visited the Ruta del Mono Canopy Tour for a zipline adventure through the jungle treetops.
Day 2 the group spent the entire day and into the evening volunteering with Danny at the Harmony Station Land Management Project where they helped him with his latest construction project. Here they had stopped for a delicious lunch prepared once again by members of the Grupo Feminino Ix-canaan.
The third day the trio spent the day building a cement floor in the home of a local resident. Here the group is in front of the home of the young woman with the baby (husband is at work). Their home is nothing more than a room with a metal roof leaning up against the house of the husband’s mother … the walls were removed so they could level the floor and put in the cement. Far right is Edgar Adelio who is the local cement worker who works with the volunteers.
The group worked hard all day … carrying the sand and gravel and mixing it all up (manually) with the water and cement.
The family that received the cement floor supplied the lunch and snacks, like this energizing stick of sugar cane that they enjoyed during a brief mid-morning break …
And here they are in front of a complete cement floor. The family will sleep somewhere else for a couple of days, after which they will reaffix the walls which can be seen laying on the grass off to the right side.
That evening the group went to participate in a local church service in one of the village’s Evangelical Churches
The morning of Day 4 was spent on an Herb Walk with local Cuarandera (Healer) and Comodrona (Midwife) Doña Maria Sandoval
They were able to taste and sample various herbs throughout the walk, including these majunches bananas, which technically are not a medicinal herb, but are a food that grows locally.
For three hours the volunteers walked through Doña Maria’s lands back of the village while she taught about the medicinal qualities of many jungle flowers, trees and herbs.
After which they returned to Doña Maria’s home where her daughter and daughter-in-law had created this delicious lunch of Hilachas (Strips of Beef and Vegetables in Sauce).
That afternoon the volunteers spent hiking up through the Biotopo Cerro Cahui Nature Reserve.
Day 5 was spent visiting the island of Flores, the capitol of Peten. It was an incredibly beautiful day for visiting the Petencito Zoo, ARCUS Wildlife Rescue Service and the Lake Lookout Point by launcha (boat) on Lake Peten Itza.
Lunch was the local Whitefish, served at local lakeside restaurant Casa Maya.
The afternoon was spent in exploring the island of Flores, followed by the tour of the Actun Kan Caves
Day 6 was once again spent in volunteering.
In the morning, Mary, Ashley and Chip worked on the paths at the Women’s Center. Mary and Ashley began at two different parts of the path, pulling weeds and cleaning … while Chip worked with the kids to place more rocks along the edges of the paths.
(they are all in this photo, spaced out along the path)
The results were impressivel!!
Work was followed by a delicious lunch of Pollo Guisado cooked and served by the Grupo Feminino Ix-canaan.
In the afternoon, the 3 volunteers went to the Ix-canaan Library to work with the kids … helping with a project of painting a Quetzalcoatl on the side of the building.
Artist Christopher Houweling of Gueyk Up sketched an outline and mixed up some paints.
Chip, Mary and Ashley helped the kids, and when they ran off to the playground, they did the touch-ups to clean up the outlines.
And after all final touches, Quetzalcoatel: The Feathered Serpent
The final day was spent taking a guided trip through Tikal, one of the greatest of the ancient Mayan cities.
Written by ixcanaan in: library,volunteers,women's group |

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