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Antje Duvekot

ANNOUNCING Volunteer Trip 2019!!!!

I am extremely excited to announce the second annual Antje Duvekot Volunteer Trip 2019. Once again, I will be taking a group of 10-20 volunteers to Project Somos in the beautiful highlands of Tecpan in Guatemala where the group will live, work and learn for a week. 12 of us came along last winter and it was nothing short of magical! None of us knew each other going in and we left as fast friends. So of course I'm gonna do it again! Maybe you want to come this time? :) Let me just get to your questions one by one:

WHEN: Saturday February 23rd - Sunday March 3rd, 2019 (we will be at the project from the 24th - the 2nd). The night of the 23rd will be spent convening at the Hotel Barcelo in Guatemala City as we arrive on our various flights into Guatemala City. The Barcelo is a lovely hotel right by the airport. Myself or our chaperone Marla will be at the airport to greet you when you arrive. The next day we all travel together by private shuttle from the Barcelo hotel to Project Somos (approx. 2 hour ride). We leave Project Somos again on Saturday March 2nd and we spend our last day in the historical city of Antigua (a UNESCO World heritage sight nestled at the bottom of three giant volcanoes!). We fly home on March 3rd.

WHAT: What exactly is it, you ask. So Project Somos Children's Village is an incredible project and place (I have been 4 times now). Located on one of the more gorgeous spots on this planet, it was founded by a Canadian couple, Heather and Greg, and it supports the local Mayan community in a variety of ways: providing quality education and healthy food to families in need, programming to children who were previously falling through the cracks of the Guatemalan system, support for the children’s families through vocational training and opportunities to the mothers, as well as parenting classes in topics like nutrition and hygiene. The project also focuses on sustainability and green technologies. You can check them out at projectsomos.org and https://www.facebook.com/projectsomos/ for more information!

THE ITINERARY: Our group will live in dormitory style volunteer housing. It is a really beautiful and comfortable space and, save room sharing (2 - 6 per room) it's pretty comfortable living! Delicious fresh organic cuisine made for us every day, evening programs and free time in the cozy community space after dinner. Every morning, we congregate and the various jobs for the day are announced. To keep it interesting, you can volunteer for a different task in the morning and afternoon. We split up into small groups. Tasks vary from planting, to painting, to playing with the kids, light construction, food prep, harvesting, really whatever needs done. No need to be in amazing physical shape; there are plenty of low key tasks too! Most days we will work during the day and relax at night; I'll provide two evening concerts :) And of course spontaneous jam sessions are welcome. We’re also likely to get a presentation about Mayan culture one evening and a documentary night and discussion about life in Guatemala with Greg and Heather. On one or two of the days, we'll visit the local market (think gorgeous handcrafted textiles) and Iximche, the impressive ruins of a Mayan kingdom abandoned in 1525. And we will have our last day in Antigua. Of course you may opt to come earlier or stay later in order to travel more. Lake Atitlan is worth a visit and not too far from the Project and Guatemala City. The most famous Mayan ruins of Tikal are pretty far north so a bit harder to get to, but not impossible. So that's the trip in a nutshell.

COST: Everyone is responsible for their flights. A roundtrip from Boston to Guatemala City is currently about $518. Room and board at Somos for the week includes lodging and 3 meals a day (beer, wine and candy available for purchase). We'll also spend a night at the Hotel Barcelo (arriving) and at a hotel in Antigua on the way out. Further included are insurance, shuttle transport, cooking staff tips, trip to the ruins, our personal guide Marla (who will be with us the whole time) and most all meals when we are not at the project as well. The grand total for all of the above comes to $875. This covers most on-the-ground expenses and you shouldn’t need much money beyond that. Lastly, every volunteer is asked to raise and contribute a $600 donation. This is for materials and as a way to keep the project running!! In sum, the total cost of the trip per person comes to $1475 plus flight. I realize this is a good chunk of change for many. Consider launching a GoFundMe page or some type of fundraising outreach and let your friends and relatives help you. People love to be part of something charitable, so don't be afraid to ask! :)

MISCELLANEOUS: No shots are required for this trip, however typical recommendations for Guatemala include Hepatitis A&B, Typhoid fever, MMR and Tetanus-Diptheria. There is no malaria in this area (virtually no mosquitos!). Guatemala has Zika, but again we’ll be in the highlands with quasi no mosquitos so I personally would not worry about it. The weather in February is usually gorgeous (sunny, dry, low 70's) but nights can get cold; I will send a pack list as we get closer. There is a one hour time difference from EST so no jet lag :)

WHAT NOW:
There is room for 20 on the trip. I shall fill the trip on a first come first serve basis and subsequently start a waiting list. I realize that it might take people a bit of time to decide. All I ask is that you submit your name only once you are relatively certain that you will be able to come. I realize things happen, but bear in mind that you are holding up someone's spot and keeping those on the waiting list in limbo. Think you want to come along on this adventure? Send me an email with your name (and that of anyone you plan to bring) and the city where you live. For now this reserves your spot!! My email is: pantjebear@yahoo.com. Also please feel free to inquire with any further questions! Please note that this is not the trip for bringing very small children but teenagers are welcome!

SO THEN WHAT?: First deadline: On December 16th we will need hard commitments and a first deposit of $300 will be due. This is also the point at which I should be able to inform those on the wait list whether anyone pulled out and get them in the loop, if so. The remaining deposit (trip cost and donation) will be due January 15th (at which time I will need everyone’s flight details and there will be a little bit of paper work). Further emails and details will be continually sent out as we have our group together!! Please don’t book your flight yet until you’ve checked with me since we do need to be sure we have a ten people minimum for the trip to run.

I am really excited to meet everybody! Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions whatsoever. pantjebear@yahoo.com
Looking forward to seeing you in Guatemala!
Antje Duvekot

For photos of our last trip, visit https://www.facebook.com/antjeduvekot/posts/10214816543739582

updated: 3 days ago