By Jordan Taylor
Guatemala is home to volcanoes, rainforest, and ancient Mayan sites. There is an endless need and a desire to improve. As one of our closest sites, Guatemala proves that you don’t always need to travel far to find a genuine need and sustainable projects to dig your heels into. Youthlinc has been working in Guatemala since 2012 and is excited to announce our return after a very short-lived break this past year.
In 2014, we became partners with People for Guatemala, a local NGO, who connects us with rural communities in the mountains of Guatemala. Families living in these rural villages are faced with extreme poverty, malnutrition, discrimination, and environmental degradation, which has only grown worse in the face of Covid-19. Despite all they face, they are eager to build a better future for their families. Since 2010, People for Guatemala have been working to help local villages obtain their dream, that one day their children will have the opportunity to obtain an excellent education, that families will be healthy and all communities in rural Guatemala will thrive. Youthlinc has been able to plug right into their efforts both in Santa Rosa II and will be returning to San Martin.
With the help of our partners on the ground, Youthlinc has been able to work side by side with each family and help provide support on projects led and requested by the community. One of our most successful projects has been installing concrete floors. Families have a high level of devotion to this project and it also provides an impactful opportunity for our volunteers. In addition to building floors and pouring physical foundations, our teams build bridges across cultural and language barriers as they have a meaningful discussion while they work together. When our teams return home, this is often one of their favorite projects and memories from their experience in Guatemala.
52 Concrete Floors
The village of Santa Rosa II, People for Guatemala, and Youthlinc worked collaboratively to install concrete floors in 52 homes.
Everyone had skin the game. Youthlinc chipped in 8K. People for Guatemala chipped in a few thousand. The families receiving the concrete floors had to contribute around 200 Q (30 USD) so they were financially invested. A week before we came, the cement, sand, and rocks were delivered and they literally filled plastic mesh bags with the materials and hauled them on their backs to their home. They also made sure their home was ready for installation by taking all of their belongings out of their humble homes and preparing the foundation.
Every family got the exact same amount of cement, sand, and rocks. Some families used all the materials because they had a bigger home. Other families had leftover materials they could use for other projects. I asked a young mother what she planned to do with the left-over supplies. She said that she plans to build a front porch patio so her 2-year-old can crawl on the ground without getting bit by bugs.
What does a concrete floor mean to a family? A concrete floor reduces dust in the summer, mud in the winter, harmful mold, and bugs that come up through the ground and bite the family causing all sorts of illnesses. I don’t think I’ll ever look at concrete in the same way again.
In 2019, we were able to install floors for an additional 30 homes making our total count in the past 4 years 130.
If you are looking for an experience that will stay with you long after the concrete dries, sign up for the Guatemala 2021 team today! You will have the opportunity to see a country full of desire, drive, and dedication to their families and improving their communities. Register now to help People for Guatemala bring health, education, and vocational training to the people of San Martin.