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.

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Our mission is to inspire our volunteers to become global citizens and take a hands-on role in the world around them. We believe our duty is to improve the lives of those in need. We aim to improve the future of some of Guatemala’s most vulnerable people, and help them to break the poverty cycle through early nutrition, education and self sustainability.
You can learn more about how to Be Humanitarian and the work that we are doing from this link https://linktr.ee/behumanitarian Tobie is the founder and director of the nonprofit Be Humanitarian. Tobie leads service vacations to Guatemala to help companies, families, and individuals give back while rediscovering what really matters.
If you ever have an issue with anything we write about please let us know. We want to make sure we are always serving you at the highest level. We understand that there are many great organizations doing great work around the world. We aim to be a beacon of love and hope and we sincerely appreciate your support and friendship. It is our greatest goal to spread the belief that we can all be humanitarians in our simple, everyday interactions. We try our best to do good in the world and we welcome you to join us. Tobie was recently asked “Why she is passionate about our work in Guatemala and this is her reply …
Why am I passionate about Be Humanitarian? Because the obstacles facing our world may feel big however the obstacles of living in Guatemala have historically been even more difficult. Guatemala consistently ranks around the fourth most malnourished country in the world where about half of all children under the age of five are chronically malnourished. Keeping children in school is a constant struggle as indigenous girls typically attend school for 3 years until they are needed to work in the home or in the fields. For many years I led groups of volunteers to visit orphanages in Guatemala where we offered love and hope to the children there. I was dumbfounded to learn that many children have two living parents that simply couldn’t afford to feed their child and so they placed them in an orphanage to make sure they received food and an education. It was then that I decided to support the fragile family and stop children from being placed in the system when they have parents who love them. As a mother, I simply couldn’t imagine the heartbreak of choosing to give my daughters to strangers to raise to ensure that they ate. Be Humanitarian works closely within the community to ascertain the needs of the families and we have created trust within the community which allows us to intimately know the families we serve. Over the years we have donated thousands of books to fill empty shelves, created libraries, paid children’s tuition, provided hundreds of thousands of meals and thousands of backpacks full of school supplies. We have delivered water filters, installed wood burning stoves and taught our families how to make their own bookshelves so they could organize their homes.
Be Humanitarian has been working diligently to ease the burdens of everyday life in Guatemala for the last 11 years. We firmly believe that we can positively impact our communities by keeping families intact while providing educational opportunities, creating income opportunities and supporting self sufficiency programs such as our volunteer run nutrition program and garden tower projects. We firmly believe that a small group of dedicated individuals can make the world a better place.
Stories about our personal experiences are yours to share. Feel free to forward any of our emails to your community. The more humanitarians we have in the world, the better the world will be. Know that we are grateful for your support, your readership, and look forward to you joining us on the adventure.

Thank you all so much for being a part of our world,
Tobie, Darrin, Chelsea, Danka, Dana, Jen and William

Tobie Spears
Founder / Director
Be Humanitarian

support@behumanitarian.org

Be Humanitarian 501c3
Pleasant Grove UT 84062