We have a language school and CrossFit Box in Mapastepec, Chiapas, a small city on the Pacific coast in Mexico. The school is 40 minutes from the Sierra Madre Mountains and forty minutes from pristine beaches. There are beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes and hiking trails in the mountains. Two biosphere reserves (national parks) are nearby: the Triunfo and the Encrucijada. CharreríaS (Mexican rodeo) and Folk dancing is also big here. My wife Deysi is a folk dancer and you can take classes at the Cultural House with her at almost no cost. If you want to learn about real Mexican culture, this is the place, it is a genuine, 100% Mexican city with almost no recent foreign influence. In fact, in a county of 50,000 people, I am (Richard) the only resident foreigner here. This also makes it an ideal place to learn or improve upon Spanish. We are just an hour and a half from Guatemala. Deysi and I live in our school where we work so it's literally a schoolhouse. Originally from Pennsylvania, USA, I was on a solo international cycling tour through Latin America, got hired to teach English (I had been giving classes at the university in the US) and then started my own school which has just had its tenth anniversary. Cyclists and travelers from all over the world have come to the school and we really enjoy their company. It's great to see the students interacting with people from outside the community who know about the world and have wonderful stories. We try to open the students' eyes to other ways of seeing the world, to ideas and norms different from what they see every day in their small community. We would especially like for travelers to come who are interested in sharing their experiences in the classroom and teach ENGLISH (required), FRENCH OR GERMAN to my wife and I. Experience is not necessary, just a keen interest in sharing your language. We will gladly help you with teaching. You will have your own room in the schoolhouse unless we come to an agreement otherwise. We have a big yard (for the city) and we are just six blocks from the market. We love animals and have three well-socialized dogs and one cat that are part of the social fabric of the school and family. Public transportation is cheap and readily available. The cost of living here is really low so you can do a lot and spend very little money. We like sports and have a CrossFit gym here so if you like intense exercise you're welcome to participate for just 150 pesos (8 dollars) a week).
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Special note: As of September 1st, 2018 we have been on Workaway for about six months and have had 123 people request to come. We have only been able to accept 34 due to space, time and money constraints. There are many more people who wish to have these enriching cultural experiences than opportunities to go around. When we accept you to come we put you on the schedule with your teaching role: i.e., teaching english (required), french or german. We and the students are depending on you to fulfill that role. On three occasions people have come to teach only to tell us after a class or two that they don't like teaching and must leave. We ask ourselves: why would you request to come to a language school to work as a teacher when you don't like teaching and why would you just do it for a day or two days and then give up? It creates instability in the classroom that is not welcome because it's not good for the students and cuts what could be a great experience for you short. We've also had two no-show and two last-minute (as in the day before) cancellation. This was upsetting to us because when you do scheduling each person has a role in our schoolhouse and secondly we turned down two or three other requests to come because we gave you the spot. So, please be considerate and take your own as well as the hosts' situations into account by considering if you are really willing to make the teaching commitment for three, four weeks, two months, five months (whatever the time frame) and by giving as much possible forwarning about any travel plan changes. Thank you!
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
This area is great for learning about genuine Mexican culture as it is off the beaten track. You can practice your Spanish daily and we'll be happy to help you with your language skills. there's folk dance, charrerías (traditional Mexican rodeos), and if you're interested in cooking there is a lot of delicious truly unique cuisine and drinks in the region like mole, gringas, garnachas, tlascalate, posole, posol, etcetera. People in the area harvest cacao and coffee beans, so there is excellent coffee and chocolate. The women and men here are always happy to share their knowledge! People here are very friendly and not in a rush so they are happy to spend time with you. It's just a great all around area to learn about Mexican culture.
We love learning languages. My wife and I are looking for help learning French and german. The groups you would teach will have between 2 and 10 students. Prior teaching experience is not necessary, but you must have an interest. We will help you with the teaching.
You can help with the animals simply by playing with them and sometimes helping us to obedience train the dogs. While it is not necessary that you help us with the animals it is ESSENTIAL that you have a liking for animals so that you will enjoy your stay as they are part of the fabric of our schoolhouse.
English, Spanish, some french
Our school is a traditional brick and wood, terracotta-roofed villa. You will typically have your own room. We have a large room in the garden that was an open veranda and a smaller room in the house. There is a big yard and we are 6 blocks from the market. We have excellent WIFI. As this is a traditional and purely Mexican area so we are unaware of any vegans in the area, however with the market full of fresh produce we're sure the food is available. You would be provided with groceries if your needs are specific.
*️️️️️️️️️Special note: while we consider our accommodations to be comfortable and like them, if you are coming from a wealthier part of the world they may not meet your expectations. The climate here is warm so being entirely enclosed is not a priority, so there is less privacy than is typical in colder parts of the world. Be flexible and humble, it is essential in this region.
The Sierra Madre Mountains are just 20 minutes away and there are waterfalls, swimming holes and trails. Pristine Pacific beaches are just 40 minutes away. The old German colony of Santo Domingo is just two hours away. Two national parks, the Triunfo and Encrucijada are nearby. The Encrucijada is a great place to explore mangrove estuaries and see crocodiles and wildfowl. The Triunfo has quetzals, monkeys and lots of wildlife as well as incredible mountain views from the cloud forest. Transportation is readily available and very cheap. It's US $0,60 to get around the city and $4.10 to go to the beach. You can buy bus tickets economically at the bus station to take you anywhere else you might like to go. We have a CrossFit box and train Monday through Friday, classes are open to workawayers for 150 pesos (8 dollars)/week.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week