Volunteer With GHA
Because all the founders of GHA have been volunteers on other projects in Guatemala and know the satisfaction that comes from actually working on the houses, we wanted to make that option available to others beginning in the Fall of 2012.
The volunteer/donor will be placed on a crew with local masons and a member of the build family and in ten days or so take the project from footing to roof. In that time, through the sweating and joking you’ll find you have developed bonds of mutual respect with the family and crew.
If you are not a mason or concrete finisher there is still plenty of unskilled labor to be done with shovels, buckets, and wheelbarrows. Of course if you know how to use a float or a trowel we’ll make room for you on the wall or slab. Nothing will be expected of you physically that you are not comfortable contributing. Our crews are trained to observe commonsense safety precautions when working with less experienced volunteers. We ask volunteers building a house to donate $500 - all of which will go to the purchase of construction materials. If signing on to lay a floor, we ask a donation of $200, or $100 each if more than one volunteer is working on the job.
GHA will help you with local accommodations while at Lake Atitlán. Lodging ranges from unassuming hostels to modern hotels that offer all the expected amenities at extremely reasonable rates even for Guatemala.
We will also offer homestays in both San Pedro and San Juan where you will be provided room and board very inexpensively in a local household (informal Spanish or Tz’utujil language lessons gratis).
Right: A palapa at a local language school where teacher and student sit for lessons.
After work and on the weekends there will be time to explore the dozen villages surrounding the lake that are accessible by boat or cratered roadway. Boats run from dawn until dusk on a fairly regular basis and tuk-tuks are always available to artfully navigate the roads for a modest fee.
You can take advantage of the several Spanish language schools, coffee tours, kayaking, horseback riding along the slopes of Volcan San Pedro, even hot stone massages.
Kayaks available for rent at Lake Atitlán.
In San Juan you’ll find classes offered in weaving and natural dyeing. In fact, a local member of our Board of Directors, Miriam Navichoc, heads a weaving cooperative in San Juan where some of the finest examples of the weavers craft are exhibited and where the magical process of making a cotton boll sing will be revealed to you.
Above and right: Guatemalan women and some of their beautiful handwoven fabric and clothing.
Both villages are linked by launch or shuttle to all the other villages surrounding the lake with daily connections to Antigua and to Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City.