Volunteer For a Day: By Heidi Larson
I had 10 days: 10 whole days to explore a whole country. Let’s see what Guatemala has to offer a 50+ solo female traveler. I did all the usual sites: the volcanoes of Antigua, Flores Island and the ruins of Tikal and Yaxha, plus a couple of days exploring Lake Atitlan. Everything was as amazing as I thought it would be. My good friends back in Costa Rica, Will and Brandon, told me about a charity they work with, Be Humanitarian, in the small village of San Andres, a short bus ride away from Panajachel. Be Humanitarian has been working in Guatemala for over 10 years and have created a nutrition center, educational sponsorship program, and bought a sewing center to provide local moms with income opportunities and do amazing things for their community. How could I say no!
What an incredible bunch of ladies. Carolina met me from the bus, fed me delicious chicken and rice before meeting up with half a dozen other ladies. We headed to their sewing center where they showed me how they make the bags they turn into garden towers to grow produce in. Then taking one of the finished garden towers and various seedlings to gift to a local family. We proceeded to fill the garden tower with soil and once full, added the seedlings. Backbreaking work for an old bird like me 🤦♀️
I can’t thank the ladies enough for an amazing experience (despite my atrocious Spanish – thank goodness for Google translate!) It felt good to give a little something back to the amazing country that has welcomed me and become my home, if only for a few days. Thank you Be Humanitarian.
If you’re visiting the Lake Atitlan area, I can totally recommend spending a few hours with them – you’ll be so happy you did.