The Giving Experiment Gallery
Providing volunteers with a marvellous experience of growth and cultural insight is as much of a priority for us as any of our ongoing projects. We love the amount of beautiful people this experiment has brought into our lives! This year we have strived towards making our community centre and guest house a refuge for travellers of all demographics. The authenticity of life in a Guatemalan neighbourhood is so fun to share through our open house community dinners and just hanging out on the sidewalk introducing the neighbour kids and families we love!
Have you volunteered with us? Please submit your pictures and stories to share with others that may be considering volunteering to email@example.com
A note from Talia and Indigo:
"Our names are Indigo and Talia, two newly graduated high school students who grew up in Rossland, BC. As we all know the world can be a pretty small place and we actually didn’t meet Christina, Owen and their family during their time in Rossland. We found the project through a mutual friend and reached out. Christina was so welcoming right away. She invited us to stay, volunteer and experience Guatemala with them. We knew very little about lake Atitlan, but it didn’t take long for us to find our way around San Pedro, with the help of Christina and the girls, especially Faye and Katie who took us around town during our first two days.
Each day we had 1 to 2 activities with different locals such as Kayaking on the lake with Angel, bracelet making with Concepcion or visiting Maria's cafe and enjoying the view. It all culminated in a day spent making kites with kids in the neighborhood to fly at the beach. That Saturday we participated in another beach clean up in San Juan organized by Sophia and Edwin.
Within our first day there we were already in love with the place, people and culture. Soon after our arrival we were treated with a community dinner at the Dargatz’s guesthouse organized by Christina. There, we saw first hand the beautiful community and support system they have been able to form. The next day we got to be a part of our first beach clean up and kids club volunteer event. The kindness of the locals was amazing and their ability to give is profoundly beautiful. The next day we said goodbye to Christina and the girls as the were off on their adventure to Mexico where they would meet the rest of their family. However, the next week was still full of experiences and new connections that we made thanks to a scavenger hunt Christina left for us.
The garbage was nearly ankle deep on the beach there and found its way into the surrounding farmland. Within two hours a huge portion was cleared up by the hard working hands of the locals and ours, though slightly sunburnt. It became clear that these beach clean ups are quite a highlight for the children as they played and danced and dragged us in the water after they filled up bags of garbage. It was truly wonderful. The joy we felt that day was vast, however the knowledge that so much of the garbage was produced by tourism on the lake and that the hard working Guatemalans were giving up their free time to help their beach and receive a bag of food is a great frame to put life into perspective.
It has been moments like this where we have been lucky to learn and experience these things on our trip and it’s all been made possible through the Dargatz’s and their connections, even while they have been away. As young women this trip will continue to shape us into adulthood and we hope to grow up to do something like Christina and Owen."
Thank you Talia and Indigo for your heartwarming words!
A note from Pathmae:
"We first met Owen at the “cajero” (ATM) in San Juan where we were residing at the time. We got invited for their community dinner where we met the rest of the family and learned about the project. Shortly after, they have became our family in Lake Atitlan where everything for us at the time were very unfamiliar. They provided us a sense of home that we were missing and the project was an amazing way to get involve in the community.
The music they share to the kids, the art they teach and the loving, welcoming hugs brought us so much joy. There were a lot of things I learned from my encounter with the family and the project, most importantly I learned the importance of generosity in different forms. Personally, meeting their family is such a blessing to me and being involve in the project gave me a sense of belongingness. Forever grateful to have met you guys and thank you fulfilling my heart with so much love.
So many faces that we hope to see again!
Special thanks to those that got involved in bringing their community together to bless a community abroad. Highlight mention to our niece Janaya. This amazing 11-year-old girl and her friends Rosemary, Ireland, Blake, and Lenyn pulled off a bake sale in Dawson Creek, British Columbi and raised 500.00 to help fund the club! The children of the club had a fun time learning your name Janaya. (Jah-nai-ahhhh!)