Guide to Work, Study, Travel and Living Abroad  FacebookTwitterGoogle+  
Related Topics
Volunteer in Guatemala
Related Articles
Volunteer with the Casa Guatemala
Volunteer in Guatemala: Work for the Good of Others and the Environment
Volunteering in Guatemala: Adventure and Service as an English Teacher

Helping Out as a Volunteer in Guatemala

Jobs Are Readily Available in Antigua

My life has changed dramatically since leaving a comfortable and secure life in Canada to volunteer in the Child and Infant Nutritional Recuperation Centre at Hospital Hermano Pedro, located amid the myriad of Spanish language schools in Antigua. The free hospital serves the poor and primarily indigenous Mayan population of central Guatemala and the highlands. Some patients, abandoned there as children, grow to adulthood within the hospital walls.

Volunteering does not involve rigorous screening or selection processes. I entered the hospital’s administrative office armed with only a rudimentary command of the language, a copy of my passport, two photographs, and good intentions. The secretary asked, “When can you start?”

The center was created to care for babies and young children suffering from malnutrition. With little formal training other than that provided by the hospital, the “nurses” are responsible for all aspects of patient care: medications, laundry, feeding, bedding changes, and the cleaning of the ward. Hospital volunteers spend countless hours playing with the children, assisting with feedings, changing diapers, cuddling and rocking. Babies from traditional indigenous backgrounds, accustomed to being wrapped in a rebezo (shawl) and carried on their mother’s back, lose their sense of security when lying in a crib.

Most volunteers are language students from various parts of the world and groups of visiting missionaries with short-term commitments of two or three weeks. Seldom does anyone stay longer than a month. Several long-term volunteers and the hospital staff provide continuity.

For More Info

Antigua is the center of language study in Guatemala. Information on courses (with homestay and meals), regional information, tours, and discounted airfares can be obtained from: AmeriSpan Guatemala, 6a Avenida. Norte #40A, Antigua, Guatemala; 011-502-832-0164/4846, fax 011-502-832-1896; guatemala@amerispan.com, www.guatemalaschool.com.

  TRANSITIONS ABROAD   BECOME A CONTRIBUTOR   TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  About Us   Submit an Article   ©Transitons Abroad 1995-2014
  Contact Us   Student Travel Writing Contest   Privacy
  Archives   Narrative Travel Writing Contest   Terms of Service
  Advertise   Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest  
  Add Programs    
Join Our Email List