A beautiful land of mountains, volcanoes and lakes, Guatemala is known for its colorfully dressed people, Mayan ruins, and coffee. Suffering from the aftermath of a civil war that lasted more than three decades, Guatemala now must address the needs of the poor while at the same time preserving its natural resources (especially the tropical forests that cover its northern half). For more than a century the nation has been controlled by its army and a small number of wealthy families. On the bottom are the indigenous Mayans, who work Guatemala’s famous coffee plantations and make up more than half the population. Most still speak their native language though Spanish is dominant. Founded on March 10, 1543, Antigua was at one time the capital of all of Central America.Guatemala is home to more than 30 volcanoes, three of which surround the valley Panchoy in which Antigua sits. Fuego, the tallest at 14,000 feet, is the only one of the three that is still active.
Participants will be visiting homes and people in the fields in and around the community of Magdalena in a variety of different agricultural projects. Some activities include vaccinations of farm animals, animal castration, building chicken coups and pig pens. All of the building projects are made in cooperation with a group that Pastor Mario has formed in order to provide continued training in the agricultural field, veterinarian advice, as well as biblical instruction. These projects provide long term sustainability for the families. Team Members will have the opportunity of talking with the families, sharing their personal testimonies and Bible verses that they identify with. There is a lot of walking involved in this site. Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Agriculture.
The carpentry site offers courses in which we teach adolescents the types of wood and the correct usage of tools that are in the workshop. We will teach them how to make wood crafts and furniture so that they may learn how to work on their own and use it professionally. After finishing the projects, they have the opportunity to sell the projects and make a little money that serves for helping out their families. One part of the money will go to the student and the rest will go to the site to buy tools for the woodshop. When students come, they will participate alongside of the adolescents, helping them with their projects, bible studies, and sharing the love of Jesus through their testimonies and take time to get to know the teens. In the afternoons we may check water filters and visit the families in order to know them and pray for them. Please pray for this site and the teens. Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Construction.
In the art site, we work with 20 students, ages 8-17. The art school works with kids from low income families and some of our kids are not able to attend additional schooling. In the art school, we teach drawing, painting, and crafts, but more than that we teach children about God, that is our main mission. Every time we receive team members, we work with different projects related to art and opportunities to get to know our Guatemalan culture. Our main projects include:
People who consider working in the art school are people who should be ready to share with children, learn and even participate in our culture. Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Art.
Team Members will be working at the public elementary school in the community of El Gorrion, near Magdalena. Team Members will work alongside the teacher assisting with courses in; music, Christian morals, and crafts. There will also be an opportunity to teach a class to the children if desired. In addition there may be special projects such painting murals at the school, helping with general maintenance and serving the children a school snack. Participants will accompany the Site Leader to visit homes, pray for the families and help with a women’s literacy program. Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Education.
Students will be assisting in teaching English and Bible classes, as well as helping out wherever needed in the school. They will have the opportunity to invest in the lives of the kids through teaching them and playing with them, as well as doing home visits occasionally. They may also have the opportunity to participate in an after school tutoring program. Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Education.
The clinic is located in the new Community Center near El Gorrion. The Center serves the poor, under-resourced community as well as neighboring towns. Currently participants help to welcome patients, assist in taking vital signs and help sort pharmaceutical drugs for distribution to patients. Working in the clinic provides a unique opportunity to learn how to examine and diagnose patients through hands-on education with our Guatemalan Doctor, Sara Romero. Team members will also be involved in our health education program, teaching health classes to students and parents in the school in El Gorrion. Team members also get a taste of different aspects of health care as they observe surgeries in a nearby hospital and visit a nursing home. Another large part of our ministry is to do follow up visits in the homes of patients who have encountered God in our clinic. Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Health Care.
The goal for Media Site is to involve team members in the area of multimedia communication; documenting each outreach through video, photography, web and graphic design. There are many avenues of service, not only to the teams that come but also interacting with the people of the community, the SI staff and their ministry sites. One of the main projects that the students will work on is putting together a highlight video for the outreach. That will require students to visit homes and all the areas where outreach participants are serving. Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Art & Media.
Team Members will have the opportunity to work in all aspects of the micro-loan program, including encouraging and praying for borrowers through home visits, assisting in loan applications and payment collections, and leading bi-weekly Bible studies. Also, SI provides support to the borrowers so Team Members may also help with hands-on projects such as chicken vaccinations or chicken coop construction. This lending program focuses primarily on women and families in Magdalena, El Gorrion and San Miguel by extending loans of $130 – $1250 for income-generating projects. Through the loans, SI hopes to help families on their journey out of poverty and to empower them for future success. Additionally, Team Members may be involved in two small businesses that the microfinance site administers: animal feed and our hand-made greeting card production named Guatemala Greetings (www.GuatemalaGreetings.com). Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Microfinance.
Hermano Pedro is a catholic center, located in Antigua, servicing the people of Guatemala in a variety of areas. They provide outpatient care for low income families as well as attend to 280 permanent patients (40% abandoned by familes) with a variety of disabilities (cerebral palsy, down syndrome and stroke survivors). There are many volunteers that come to help out, but Students International has formed a special bond with the workers at Hermano Pedro, allowing us to help out in many areas. Participants help to feed patients, participate in some physical therapy activities, play and spend quality time with the patients. There are many different sections of the center, ranging from newborns, children, teen agers, and elderly people. Our mission is to be the hands and feet of Christ for the patients. We also have the opportunity to pray for them and sometimes can take them to the park to enjoy some fresh air. Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Social Work.
Similar to other organizations, Students International has a sponsorship program that allows people the opportunity to sponsor children from Guatemala. The program is currently active in two schools, one in El Gorrion and one in Magdalena. Sponsored children receive benefits, including help with tuition, school uniforms, health care, dental care, eye care, a birthday gift, Christmas gifts and school supplies. The sponsorship team will be visiting the schools and homes of sponsored children, celebrating their birthdays, helping the teachers and parents to provide improved education and care for the children. The sponsorship team will help teach Nutritional Workshops at the Community Center and assist with office work related to running the program. Building relationships with the children and their families during home visits is a fundamental aspect of the sponsorship site and participants will be active in following up on the medical, educational and spiritual needs of the children. Learn more about how Students International is ministering in Social Work.
Rob Dixon, Division Director, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship