For two weeks I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit the town of Novillero in Guatemala and volunteer in the project “Natural Reserve”. My sister is currently in Guatemala with the program for her second time, so my trip was organized through her and because I could only come for two weeks I did not have an orientation or the Spanish course. Inlexca made it possible for me, to stay with her and her host family, which allowed me to communicate and have an amazing experience despite barely speaking Spanish! Everyone I met in Guatemala, whether they were locals, other volunteers or members of the program, were incredibly welcoming and accommodating and made many efforts to make me feel comfortable.
In the park we mainly helped the staff with the opening of a new cafetería and snack store by painting its outside and inside. Other tasks included cleaning up the forest and working in a tree nursery or greenhouse. The atmosphere among the workers and volunteers was almost like a family. As a tip I would encourage future volunteers, no matter how long they are staying or how much of a language barrier there is, to try their best to communicate with everyone and really become a part of whatever project they are working in.
Doing this trip while I am still in high school was an excellent way to prepare me for my own future gap year. I now have a much greater knowledge of what to expect from a volunteering program and living with a host family and am itching to do many more trips like these in the future!
Because I only came for two weeks I unfortunately didn’t want take part in the orientation or the Spanish course provided by the program to welcome and prepare the volunteers. “I am extremely grateful” with INLEXCA for organizing my trip with my sister and allowing me to come for such a short time and in an unconventional way.