The project is centered around working with volunteers in the rainforest community of El Remate, Guatemala. Directions for Dreamers was founded by myself, a nomad at heart and educator by trade. I earned Masters’ Degree in International Business while traveling and volunteering around the world for nine years.
The project works with another local organisation founded by lovely Canadian Anne Lossing. The charity, Project Ix-Canaan (‘Guardians of the Rainforest’, in the local Maya language), has been based in El Remate for over 20 years, with the mission of empowering the local community to protect their own rainforests. Project Ix-canaan works in collaboration with the local community and has established a health clinic, a dental clinic, a women’s centre and, most recently, a child development centre. The project has been extremely successful thanks to the dedication of the founders, the local community and a wonderful array of volunteers over the years and will continue on to be even more successful with your help! Please let us know if you are able to bring some supplies as Guatemala does not have a postal system and we cannot always buy what we need here!
The goals of this WorkAway are:
- To staff volunteers for projects within El Remate
- To continue the success and growth within the programs of El Remate
- To implement volunteers into three schools in El Remate
- To open an English language school for children and adults
Where we are:
We are located in the north of Guatemala, in the Peten region. El Remate is centrally located between the beautiful island of Flores and the historic Mayan ruins of Tikal. Being only 20 minutes from the tourist hub of Flores, it’s just a 10Q ($1.50) minibus ride to all the Western amenities you might need in Flores/Santa Elena, including banks, a hospital, a great variety of restaurants and nightlife including local cuisine, vegan and even McDonald’s and Pizza Hut for those in need of some home comforts. On the other hand, you have history, tradition and culture with Tikal National Park being only 33km away from El Remate, hosting the largest Mayan ruins in Guatemala. El Remate is a tranquil two-road town with caring and compassionate people. This village has a jungle atmosphere with a laid-back vibe and is located on the eastern shores of the 47km long Lake Petén Itzá (one of the larger lakes in Guatemala, with absolutely breathtaking sunsets and a spectacular array of wildlife).
Babysitting / child care
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
This is a start-up NGO, so travelers have the opportunity to be part of the story. I need you to help me be the foundation for the project. Travelers will be able to immerse themselves around indigenous people, assist with ecological programs and provide insight in permaculture. El Remate is a small relaxed little village, which leaves you with no choice but to be involved in the community. As it is a small village, you will have ample opportunity to continue to practice your language skills.
We're looking for self-starting, dedicated volunteers from all walks of life and of all ages. Having multiple programs within the project gives the opportunity for people to bring their specific skills and passions – you have autonomy over what you do here and will not be micro managed. The house has a beautifully healing, restful atmosphere but it is not just a place to stay; we are all committed to helping the El Remate community to improve their lives and futures.
It is essential that all volunteers arrive with their plans and ideas already formed and ready for discussion. If working with the children (ages 3-16 with varying levels of education), this would mean that you already have lesson concepts to be discussed with the librarian and other volunteers on arrival at the center. There can be between 20-40 kids at the center each afternoon and more for special activities and events! It would not be suitable to turn up and just expect to play with the children, as the center exists for their educational development as well as play. If working with the women’s groups, you will already have workshop proposals. The women’s group meet once a week but are often open to more meetings if they can learn something.
Education: We are looking for a minimum commitment of one month from ESL teachers, but we would be more than willing to host you for as long as you’d like. No specific Spanish skills needed.
The Child Development Centre: The hope is that someone would have intermediate Spanish language capabilities, in order to be able to read to youth in Spanish and assist the staff.
Teachers of English, French or Math
Volunteers to work with kids (reading, playing, arts and crafts, games, fun and learning activities)
Women’s Projects: There is a minimum commitment of four weeks to participate with the women’s groups. El Remate currently has five women’s groups, in which Project Ix-canaan has played a large role in development. Of particular interest to the women are projects around:
Business advice / business management lessons
Health and wellbeing
Medical/Healthcare: We’re looking for volunteers for any time frame; this could be a day to a year (up to you!). If you let us know your speciality in advance we can line up a VERY full patient list for you. El Remate still lacks education related to health care. Diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory (often due to smoke in the homes and burning of plastics), stitches, burns and skin infections are just a few of the things we deal with on a daily basis. It is a basic clinic and is essential to El Remate and surrounding villages.
Our clinic needs:
Type 2 diabetes education
Medical training for the nursing student who runs the clinic
Any medical worker at all!
Dental: We partner with a dental charity based in Toronto, Canada who have been providing free dental care to the community of El Remate for over ten years. They are only able to come once a year and service over 900 people. Yet, there is a demand for dentistry year around with lack of education. Both adults and children lose their teeth leading to major health issues. Currently, we have a dental technician who does cleanings and visits regional schools to do dental health workshops.
Veterinarian: A dog is the same as a family member in my book. If you happen to know Monkey then you know how much I appreciate dogs and animals. Guatemala views animals in a different perspective. Animals are viewed as having a purpose rather than providing love and support. Many of the animals in El Remate lack the proper care they should be receiving; not because people are bad just because they lack the means.
Yoga/Meditation: Having played a large role in multiple family and friends lives, I do believe that it truly improves people both physically, mentally and spiritually. We’d love to implement this into the women’s groups as well. Namaste.
Builders/Electricians/Plumbers/Tradesmen: A minimum of two weeks is needed, to build an adventure playground at Project Ix-canaan’s Child Development Centre and help to develop the Women’s Center.
English, intermediate Spanish, Novice Thai, Korean, and Mandarin.
The Casita is located seven minutes from the municipal road, two blocks up the hill and three blocks from a public pier. The tropical atmosphere provides a lush garden and a variety of fruit trees. Entering the house, the open plan connects the dining room and kitchen together, and there is a beautiful and relaxing outdoor sitting room area compete with hammocks, shelter, fairy lights and electric sockets. All basic dishes, utensils and cookware are provided. The house is furnished with all amenities and bedding, including stove, refrigerator, freezer and eco water filter.
There are two bedrooms, which are shared depending on the number of volunteers in the house. All rooms have one mobile closet and each volunteer has a bed with sheets, pillow and a blanket, plus a towel. There is also a mosquito net for each bed if needed. There are plastic tubs with lids to keep personal belongings and/or food, and laundry baskets. The rooms come with a night stand with a drawer and each bedroom has five power outlets. There is a wall-mounted fan in the main room and two portable fans for the bedrooms. Generally, the house sleeps 4 but can accommodate 6 with people sleeping outside in hammocks. The house has concrete floors so is easy to keep clean.
Right outside the house, you have the bathroom and shower, which is powerful with a lovely cool temperature. Sometimes we have visitors in the bathrooms in the morning such as frogs and lizards. It isn't uncommon to see lots of geckos, frogs and on some occasions scorpions and tarantulas around. This is a smoke-free home, but you can smoke outside without issue.
You will be expected to keep the house and yard clean. This will include cutting back the plants, sweeping leaves and cleaning the kitchen and bedrooms
At this time due to lack of funding, food is not included in the stay. There is a kitchen area in the house and local stores in the village, including twice-weekly fresh fruit and veg market, with produce that varies throughout the seasons. It is possible to eat a simple, healthy and nutritious vegan diet here for around 100Q (c. $15USD) per week. A piece of fried chicken with chips costs around 10Q (c. $1.5USD) and a meal in a restaurant 25-100Q (c. $5-15USD, depending on the restaurant. A litre of beer costs 10Q (c. $1.5USD).
There is only one cash point (ATM) in El Remate and unfortunately it is not reliable. Some stores and restaurants in town accept card, but not most. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the several cash points in Flores and Santa Elena on their way to us here in El Remate.
We live as a small community and like to live as a family. We typically eat meals together and function as a community. It is important to support each other and communicate so chores are completed.
El Remate is centrally located and has multiple options for transportation.
Santa Elena: Main Bus Terminal to Rio Dulce and Livingston (40min)
Fishing, boat tours, paddle boarding, spear fishing, cooking classes
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Minimum 4 hours a day, 5 days a week
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