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VOLUNTEER IN GUATEMALA

When it comes to culture, Guatemala is culture in the raw! Sixty-five percent of the country’s population is made up of 24 indigenous groups (Quiche, Mam, Kaqchiquel, Q’eqchi’ among others) all of which speak different languages.

On designated days of the week, neighboring villages are host to market days, painting a lively street scene of vendors and would-be buyers. Rural villagers in bright kaleidoscopic traditional traje dress, descend from miles to the central parts of nearby towns to sell their handmade wares, fruits and vegetables, and livestock.

The contagious rhythmic sounds of the outdoor concerts and cultural celebrations will have you swaying in no time, daring you to try out those new salsa and meringue moves.

And what’s a journey to Guatemala without taking note of the chicken buses? Formerly, plain old standard yellow school buses from the U.S., these vehicles have been cosmetically souped-up to give them a flavor that is distinctly Latin. While they do make for a cheap travel option, be warned. There are reasons for the low fares.

By joining AMPED’s volunteer projects in Guatemala, you will be in the center of all this in the city of Quetzaltenango (Xela), Central America’s “cradle of culture.”

Xela is a quaint college town of over 200,000 people, making it the second largest city in Guatemala and it serves as the commercial center for the country’s southwestern region. The city is enveloped by hills, mountains, and volcanoes (both active and inactive.) So the landscape makes it ripe for hiking, and the warm natural springs just outside of town offer indulgent relaxation for sore muscles.

While there are many colorful and entertaining aspects of Guatemala to be enjoyed, there is a stark reality with regard this country and its people.

Nearly 40 years of civil war struggle left the country torn apart. In the war’s aftermath, hundreds of thousands were left dead; one million refugees and internally displaced; thousands widowed and orphaned; and hundreds of massacres and villages left in complete ruin.

As an AMPED volunteer, you can join in Guatemala’s recovery effort by devoting your time and skills to one of the following projects:

HUMAN RIGHTS (WOMEN)
MEDICAL CLINIC
ORPHANAGE/DAYCARE
SPANISH CLASSES
SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN
STREET/AT-RISK CHILDREN
TEACHING ENGLISH IN LOCAL SCHOOLS

Q&A for LATIN AMERICA 
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