In 2011 Trails Travel started operating its first volunteer trips to the village of Alotenango, Guatemala. In cooperation with the Association “Bendicion de Dios” the volunteer groups build houses which consist of 1 room, a toilette, a shower and a stove.
The program lasts approximately 9 days. The volunteers experience staying in a homestay with a Guatemalan family, build a house for a family in need, share and learn from a different culture, travel and get to know some parts of Guatemala.
“There were so many things about the trip that it is hard to choose. Seeing the look on all the families’ faces when we were done building the house, being able to interact with the children and developing a relationship with each one of them, climbing to the top of Acatenango Volcano.”
“Wednesday night when we finished the house, turned on the lights and said our goodbyes to the family. This was the moment when it really hit me that we just did something very substantial for the Munoz family. The other great highlight was Friday night at dinner when everybody shared a few words about their experience.”
The first group came in March 2011 from the Oregon State University through Taylor Kavanough and “Beavers Without Borders”, an organization from the OSU Athletes Department.
Information from the Association Bendicion de Dios
Bendición de Dios is a non-profit organization that works with different projects to improve the lives of children and poor families in their community. Alotenango is a big, but very poor village that has a total of 22,000 habitants. The Association was founded in July 2002 with a clear goal: to help the families to break the cycle of ignorance and poverty with education. For the organization, the ultimate purpose is to make the families aware of their human dignity and their power to change and shape their own lives. The organization takes care of and educates children that don’t have the opportunity to attend a public school. Thanks to the support from volunteers and a group of Guatemalan teachers, the organization is able to take care of and educate 300 children. For this Year (2011) they count with 12 teachers that cover all subjects in school.
Asociación Bendición de Dios covers four areas:
2. Infrastructure - House Building
3. Health and Personal Cleaning
4. Practical Areas - Carpentry, woodwork, cooking, vowing and bakery