In less than a week, I’ll be making my first trip to Guatemala. While the country itself has been on my bucket list ever since travelling through Costa Rica and Nicaragua, what makes this one special is that it will be my first experience with Go Voluntouring, a company Flight Centre acquired earlier this year that helps connect people interested in volunteering with projects overseas.
The project we’ll be working on is called the Project Somos Children’s Village. It’s the brainchild of non-profit charitable society, Compassion Fruit, founders Heather Knox and Greg Kemp, two Canadians that spent years exploring and experiencing various projects worldwide to find a project model that resonated with their desire to give back in a meaningful way. Their vision is to build an ecologically and financially sustainable village to house Guatemalan children who have been abandoned or orphaned. Construction of the Village commenced in May of 2011 and is expected to take approximately four years to finish. Upon completion, the Village will consist of seven homes, buildings for activities, workshops (for art & music), guest rooms, a library, a large playground and a soccer field. A daunting project to say the least, but one that will leave a long term legacy while providing the framework for future villages in other locations.
What also makes this project so remarkable is its focus on sustainability—both ecological and financial. The buildings are being constructed using earth bags and the Village will use alternative electric generation, rain water capture, grey water recycling and solar energy in order to be as self-sufficient as possible. The majority of the families’ food will come from organic agriculture produced on site and the Village has partnered with Ethical Bean Coffee Company which plans to build a coffee roasting facility on the property, which in turn will help to provide financial support.
In my 9 years working with Flight Centre, I honestly can’t remember being this excited about a trip. The anticipation of meeting such inspiring people, learning more about Project Somos, and getting the chance to work on the Village itself is beyond motivating.
I’m looking forward to sharing this first GoVoluntouring experience with you and already have a feeling it won’t be my last.
Follow Allisons’ adventures on Twitter by following GoVoluntouring along with the hashtag #Somos2012 to see what others have to say about their experience on the project.