We felt we made an impact on the people there in the right way. We contributed to the local economy and ensured people were working to earn the money from our program fees. I think it's much better than simply giving people money and donations. We also felt that our English lessons will help prepare people for more tourists coming to the area. The Peten region has great sights especially with Tikal so close by. But the previously unstable government has scared many tourist away. The area has a great infrastructure for tourism and the people are amazing. More people coming to the area would definitely do a great deal to improve the lives of everyone there.
The program was an excellent mix of work, cultural emersion and free time. The location of the accommodations was fantastic and beautiful. It was relaxing and very comfortable. The food was excellent and had some great variety too.
I was surprised by how much Spanish the kids could teach me while I was teaching them English. In that sense it was a very even exchange. I was also fascinated by the Harmony Station project and was quite impressed with what they are doing for reforestation and how they are educating people about the importance of it. The herb walk in the rain forest was also amazing, especially when we visited a family home and were given a really candid look at the lives of ordinary Guatemalans. The same was true for the floor building project. It was great to see the neighbourhood come out and observe the work as we were doing it. We met so many wonderful people and were very happy to make a contribution to their overall health and lives.
This program had an excellent mix of different and very interesting projects. Anne has done a great job there and should be commended for all the fantastic work she is doing there. She is engaging the members of the community and they are being given the opportunity to earn money in meaningful and positive ways. Certain donations are needed for the very poor to give them better health and education so we were happy to be able to do that. The cultural exchange was also fantastic. We learned a great deal about their society and how they live.
I'm a big fan of Globe Aware programs. I like to travel the world and see unique places and do things that normal tourists do not get to do. Part of why I enjoy doing these trips is altruistic, but it's also partly self serving in the sense that I get to see and do amazing things. Your motto of Have Fun, Help People really does sum it up for me. The good mix of cultural emersion, volunteering projects and interesting tourism are why I will continue to do Globe Aware projects. - Bob Appeldoorn, February 2015