Guatemala:  General Information

Guatemala is a land and people of great diversity. Twenty-three Mayan languages along with the integrating Spanish language are indicative of the cultural shading found in every part of Guatemalan life.

The environment, which includes 14,000 foot mountain peaks, volcanic lakes, rain forest, quetzal bird preserves, protected biospheres, pre-Columbian Mayan cities and two oceans, remains dynamic and changes from moment to moment. No matter where you turn, Guatemala offers new and unexpected faces and opportunities.

We're still not sure where we'll be serving.  We could be in the western highlands near Huehuetenango and Quetzaltenango, or we could be in the tropical lowlands of the north in El Peten.  Whatever the case, volunteers in the program live and work in a variety of different cultural and environmental realities that are joined by the common thread of Christian vision and hope for humanity. The National Presbyterian Church of Guatemala has strong ministries of outreach and evangelism, community development, and education among the diverse people of this country. Volunteers will gain an understanding of both the diversity of culture in Guatemala, and the complexity of issues and concerns facing the church and society. A particular focus of the program will include an exploration of the volunteer's developing spirituality in the context of the rich heritage of spirituality native to Guatemala.

Volunteers will work closely with their placement site, primarily within the National Presbyterian Church of Guatemala, and with each other as they learn from and with the people of Guatemala. Placements will be throughout the country and may be located in urban areas or in more rural villages. Volunteers will join together on a regular basis for reflection, Bible study, prayer and community building led by the site coordinator(s) and church leadership.

Depending on the site and the placement, volunteers will stay in a family home, an apartment, a dorm or other shared housing.  More than likely, we're going to be staying with a host family.

Volunteer placements in Guatemala vary from year to year, depending on the needs and priorities of the community and the church.  We should be notified in early July of our specific role.  Possible YAV placements include:

  • Women's agencies and programs

  • Child development agencies and programs development

  • Presbyteries, churches, community programs and outreach agencies in the areas of communications, administration and program development and implementation

  • Music and music program development, including choir direction & teaching choir direction

  • Youth camps, retreat centers and Presbyterian seminaries

  • Teaching in church-supported high schools or educational institutions,Library organization and resource development

  • Community development projects in:

    • Organic agriculture and reforestation

    • Preventive health education

    • Women’s development

    • Economic development

    • Protection of the environment

If you have any questions, comments,
or advice for us, drop us a line!.