“There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 percent of the world's population, but account for 15 percent of the poorest”(United Nations Indigenous Day). Cross-Cultural Solutions works with indigenous populations, among the most underserved populations, throughout the world to alleviate their plight. In Tecpán, the first Capital of Guatemala, 90% of the population is indigenous people.
Hayden Kemp, Program Specialist for Guatemala shares her incredible journey through the lush, ‘cloud forest’ of Guatemala, El Biotopo.
At CCS, our alumni carry a very special place in our hearts. Volunteers embark on their journeys as new friends, and leave as family. They often take their incredible service and travel experiences with them and integrate the lessons that they learned back into their daily lives. We believe that the power of international volunteering can build bridges of understanding through one simple act: service.
Guatemaltecos Extraodinarios, one of Cross-Cultural Solutions’ work assignments in Guatemala City, is a community school for children of families who work at the local garbage depository. Guatemaltecos Extraodinarios is located next to a bus station--smog and dirt flow from there into the school affecting students. CCS stepped in to provide volunteers at the site to build a dust deflector.
Over the Labor Day weekend, Cross-Cultural Solutions held our inaugural alumni weekend trip. The trip was for those who have previously been on a longer experience with CCS, and wanted to reconnect with an international community and meet other like-minded volunteers. With the recognition that many alumni don’t have the time to travel abroad for as long as they did on their initial program, CCS wants to continue to offer quick ways to increase cultural competency and make an impact with some of our partner programs.
How much do you know about Guatemala? Here are 5 interesting things that you can experience firsthand during your Cultural & Learning activities or free time when you volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions!
1. The first chocolate bar was invented by the ancient Maya civilization.
With CCS, you’ll be welcomed into a local family’s home where you’ll sit down and talk while eating real chocolate together.
I awakened with my head pressed firmly against the airplane window with a stale sandwich wrapped in plastic on my lap. I had slept the entire 5-hour red-eye flight from LA to Guatemala City. I opened my eyes to the early morning sun peeking over the mountaintops. Wait, I could not believe it, those were not mountains they were volcanoes.
Recently, my mom, sister, and I traveled to Guatemala to volunteer together with Cross-Cultural Solutions for one week. And although we're an incredibly close bunch, I feel like I got to see certain sides of those two (and myself), for the very first time.
When you volunteer abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions, you'll find that every moment brings with it an opportunity to learn about and explore the culture. And as every international adventurer knows, the number of ways in which local cuisine can offer insight into culture and heritage are endless.
In the Fall of 2011, my daughter decided to volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions in Guatemala. She invited me to accompany her, and though I was hesitant at first, she wouldn't take no for an answer. She convinced me that volunteering in Guatemala would be a wonderful experience. She then said that her two grown children—my eldest grandchildren—were also going.