Guest blog written by Haley Wotzka and Liz Farrell,
Global Village Volunteers
The authors of this blog are currently in Quetzaltenango (aka Xela), Guatemala with a group of 27 Global Village volunteers ("GVers"). Some on their ninth trip, some on their first—collectively this group has completed 104 trips in total. That’s right, 104.How can that be, you ask? Because Global Village trips offer a little bit of everything and are the most addicting experience of all time. At this point, you may be wondering if there are statistics to back this up. Short answer: no.
But luckily, we did the leg work here and got some casual feedback from this exceptionally experienced (and inexperienced) group. Following you will find a list of Global Village "Do’s", "Don’ts" and "Myth Busters". Here goes!
- Be prepared for a positive, but emotional ending.
- Learn a bit of Spanish if you can, but if you don’t you will be totally fine.
- Make a point of meeting and doing everything you can to communicate with the family.
- Know that it will be some of the hardest work you will ever do, but so worth it.
- Bring two good pairs of work gloves (Atlas brand comes highly recommended)!
- Wear sunscreen and reapply, reapply, reapply.
- Watch where you are walking and never walk backwards, especially on Thursdays!
- Bring disposable clothing and donate it at the end of the trip.
- Know that beer, after a long day on site, has never tasted so good. Seriously.
- Know that you will have to go with the flow, group travel takes time.
- Aleve is your friend.
- Read the blog.
- Think that because you’ve never gone on a trip before you won’t fit in with the group—they will inevitably be the friendliest people you’ve ever met.
- Ride the chicken buses, when available, that is.
- Be afraid of butchering the language—trying is half the battle and the locals so appreciate it.
- Be camera shy—even when you are filthier than you’ve ever been.
- Pet the puppies, even though they are so adorable—rabies, fleas, etc.
- Leave any highly anticipated snack within reach of stray dogs—banana bread being stolen just before morning break can be devastating.
- Expect everything to be done the way it would be at home.
- Underestimate the impact you are having. Again, seriously.
Myth Busters –
- You are doing something just for the family:
You go in thinking that you are doing something for the family, but you also end up gaining so much.
- You won’t be able to make a contribution.
There is a task for everyone—responsibilities vary widely and accommodate everyone drawn to a trip like this.
- You need to be strong.
See above— just because you can’t lift 50 lbs, doesn’t mean you aren’t a future "GVer".
- I’m too old.
No you aren’t. See above, and above that. The oldest "GVer" to date was 89 years old. The youngest was 16.
- The Weather App is accurate.
It never rains when it says it is going to! That said, we take no responsibility should you get caught in the rain without the appropriate gear.
- Global Village trips are all work, no play.
Ohhhhhh no, future "GVer". Though it does become challenging to differentiate.
- You will lose weight on GV trips.
Ohhhhhh no, future "GVer". Every calorie you burn is compensated for in delicious local cuisine.
After reading this list, we hope you find yourself inspired, motivated, and excited to the point that you decide to explore the possibility of becoming a future "GVer" yourself. It is an amazing experience that stays with you forever - making an impact in a community is an experience that is totally worth having.
Thank you to our amazing teams, this trip wouldn’t be the same without you!