Volunteer Name: Lauren Newcomb
Project Location: Xela, Guatemala
Program Dates: From 12/15/2013 to 12/22/2013
Volunteered at: Medical facility
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
I thought that everyone was very helpful and attentive from the day I called to inquire about the program. Everyone responded promptly with their emails.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Guatemalans have no sense of time. They move very slowly in comparison to how I spend my days. They are usually late, and I am always early. It was very surprising.
3- What was most difficult to experience?
The time like I mentioned above, as well as not being able to communicate as effectively as I do in English. I wanted to talk to the host family, but it was difficult with my limited Spanish knowledge.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
Travel light! Use a backpack instead of a suitcase. Baby wipes, toilet paper and hand sanitizer are always helpful J
5.1-Other things volunteers should know:
a. Plan to wear different layers of clothes to adjust to temperatures
b. Good walking shoes and a daily bag to use are helpful!
c. Bring your own washable water bottle!
d. Be flexible and just enjoy the experience.
e. Plan to stay extra days to explore more.
6- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
I think this was a great way to take my first trip abroad! Working with ABV gave me reassurance that I would be safe when going to another country, and it was very helpful for my family to see their webpage / FB page to know that I was going with an established organization I liked being able to stay with a host family and take Spanish lessons to refresh my memory. I had a great time here in Guatemala and can´t wait to travel more!
7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)
Our host family was wonderful! I am so happy that my friend and I were able to stay at the same house. All of the food was great and she always had it ready when we came back from the day. I felt so safe at all time while at the house. They were a sweet family!
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Spending the afternoon with my Spanish teacher and going to the Centro Comercial and La Democracia market. It was a great cultural experience. I also enjoyed working with the medical clinic and the children it helped.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Great! The US office communicated often and working with my busy schedule since I´m a student. They´re very knowledgeable.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
A Broader View Volunteer (ABV) allows every traveler to choose their own program start date. This means you can arrive on any flight, any day of the week. Since ABV program fees are 100% tax deductible* we encourage you to fund raise. ABV offers advice and assistance with flight planning, affordable travel insurance, as well as procuring a visa, if necessary. Our ABV staff is available to any your questions. Contact us by email, through the on-line chat feature on our website or call us toll free at 866-423-3258.