Guatemala Hope will implement a variety of programs in an effort to achieve its mission of improving the quality of life and self sufficiency of villagers in El Triunfo and surrounding area. The overlaying principles of all programs will be:
- A primary focus on long term development rather than short term relief.
- A philosophy of the unselfish concern for the welfare of others rather than self-gratification.
- An integration of local culture rather than an imposition of Canadian culture.
- Ecumenical, with an emphasis on hope, respect and human dignity.
- Provision of assistance will be done without discrimination against race, religion, gender, or age.
Outreach Program - Trips to Guatemala
- The purpose of a trip will be determined by the Board, the requests from the committee in Guatemala with Canada, long term planning by the Board and available funds.
- Trip planning starts several months prior to departure and follows timelines approved by the Board.
- Trips will be planned and implemented in a manner that has a positive impact on the environment, community relations, and societal attitudes.
- On selected trips, material goods will be provided to the villagers through specific programs being implemented by Guatemala Hope. Distribution will respect the safety and dignity of the recipients as well as the volunteers.
Participant Selection Criteria and Process
- All participants must be 18 years of age one month prior to departure for the trip.
- All interested individuals must complete an application and participate in the selection process.
- Selection will be based on the application process including police clearance for new missionaries and past performance of experienced participants, as well as the purpose of the trip and the skills needed.
- Selection is to be completed by the Missionary Committee, and the Board has the right to hear appeals.
- Participants are requested to become members of Guatemala Hope.
- Upon selection, first time participants will pay an Initiation Fee and all participants will pay a Registration Fee.
- Personnel will include a person with appropriate medical training to provide emergency response care specific to that geographical area for the participants.
- The organization will select airline and flight times for the group. Participants will book and pay for their own flight. If flight schedule is different from the group schedule the trip coordinator will be notified in advance. Charitable tax receipts for in-kind flight donations will be issued in February if a flight receipt is submitted to Guatemala Hope by December 1st.
- Individuals may fund raise to cover their expenses but fundraising activity must be pre-approved by the Missionary Committee and clearly indicate funds raised are for the individual not Guatemala Hope.
- Assistance for flights may be given on a case by case basis. Consideration will be given if the individual is critical to the success of the trip.
Preparation and Participation
- Guatemala Hope will adequately prepare volunteers to participate in this third world experience. Documentation of training will be kept on file. A post trip evaluation will be mandatory of each missionary.
- Participants will conduct themselves in a Christian manner exemplifying respect and dignity for themselves, fellow missionaries and villagers.
- Participants will work as a team, participate in team meetings and communicate with leaders regarding concerns or problems.
- Participants are asked to refrain from giving personal gifts or money to the villagers. It is the philosophy of Guatemala Hope to encourage self sufficiency and to encourage the enrichment the life of the community rather than individuals. This also prevents unrealistic expectations being placed on future volunteers.
- Pictures will be shared with other participants and Guatemala Hope.
- Participants will bring their personal possessions in their carry on luggage. Guatemala Hope will use their allocated stowed baggage for shipping project goods.
- A confidential file of every participant is to be maintained in the office that includes their application, liability waiver, a photocopy of passport and health card, proof of out of country Insurance, copy of flight insurance or signed waiver, police clearance and immunization record or signed waiver. A completed health form will be retained by the designated health professional for the duration of the trip and is sealed in storage and kept confident after the trip.
The maximum number of people on a trip is 24, which is workable number for the living conditions. Two cooks prepare all the meals but everyone takes a turn doing some of the chores. These include scrubbing the latrines and showers, washing pots and pans, and burning the garbage. Everyone is responsible for washing their own dishes and picking up after themselves.
We try to share meal time but this does not always work out with schedules, especially when working with the villagers. We do try and have team meetings during the week to share experiences and concerns.
Health and Safety
Every precaution is made that participants are provided a safe environment in which to do their work.
Guatemala Hope provides
- Safe vehicles while travelling to and from the village
- Plenty of safe, healthy food
- Unlimited fresh water
- A trained medical officer
Participants are expected to:
- Not go out alone at night
- Avoid eating or drinking food that might be contaminated
- Take precautions to avoid heat or sun stroke
- Drink plenty of fluids
The Village and its People
El Triunfo is a small hamlet that was founded in 1979, as families moved to vacant land for safe haven. Currently there are about 180 families of varying heritage. There is usually hydro service and internet connection is now a limited possibility.
The homes are now mostly block with palm roofs but there are still many plank or bamboo stick homes with dirt floors. The house is used mostly for sleeping with a separate outdoor area for cooking, bathing and relaxing. Very few have masonry stoves and formal kitchen areas. Villagers do not have toilets with running water and their washroom area is an outside area behind a tarp. (Trip participants stay at the teacher's house which has running water and 2 flush toilets and showers to accommodate our groups.)