Photographers without Borders- Entre Mundos- Part 3

Entre Mundos is a home for those looking for volunteering opportunities throughout Guatemala. The purpose of our Volunteer Program is to connect the expressed needs of national and international volunteers who have specific skills with local organizations that have concrete needs and are interested in receiving volunteers. This is a collaboration that reflects our name, “Entre Mundos,” “Between Worlds,” and allows for personal and professional growth and development for both parties while bringing together two different realities on a shared path toward knowledge, connection, exchange on several levels, and friendship.

EntreMundos offers interested people the opportunity to volunteer with more than 100 organizations in the country, the majority of them in the western highlands. These entities work in fields such as education, health, nutrition and food security, hygiene, environment, renewable energy, agriculture, comprehensive rural development, community tourism, defense of the rights of indigenous peoples, of women, of children, and of youth, among many others. We cooperate directly with each one of these organizations to identify what kind of volunteers they need and to make sure that our potential volunteers do not only have an excellent experience, but that they also offer a useful service to the organization with which they work. (From the Entre Mundos Website).

He Speaks for the Trees... 

Marco Cruz has been working on rehabilitating the forests around Xela for over 20 years. He started out planting trees with 2 others. They would go out and replant trees to keep the forests alive. After 10 years his friends left to work on another project leaving Marco on his own. 

Marco started Chico Mendes (named after a tv show). Originally he was asked by the government to work together . They said that after 15 years they wanted the option of being able to cut down the trees again. Marco didn't want the trees to be cut down again so he decided to go off on his own. 

He worked closely with the chiefs of the different communities. They have given him permission to plant trees in hopes of re-establishing the Mountain Range. 

Marco uses both Local and International volunteers to help regrow the forests. The volunteers help maintain the trees currently planted. These volunteers go out once a month and clean around the trees clearing away weeds and other plants that may cause the baby trees to die. 

The volunteers also assist with planting seeds. The seeds that are planted are put in bags with composite from other trees in the woods, dirt, and sand. When the trees are ready to plant in the ground Marco will take the volunteers up the mountain side to put the trees into a specific locations to make sure that the forest will regrow properly. 

Most recently Marco and his team of volunteers planted 200 trees on a hillside. He has projects that will include planting another 2500 trees. Entre Mundos works with his organization by connecting volunteers who are interested in rebuilding the ecosystem. 

Community Organic Farming

Armando Lopez runs a community farming project. The goal of the project is to connect local families to trade local crops. 

Each family has a crop or two and instead of selling them at the market they trade what they have amongst each other. Trades include vegetables, flowers,  fruits, eggs, milk, meat, honey, and more. Each person in the community has their own specialty. 

Armando and the community farms utilize volunteers to assist with farming. While volunteering the volunteers have the opportunity to learn about organic farming and crop growing techniques. Armando shares his knowledge with volunteers and even offers classes. As a thank you for volunteering he offers a place to stay and fresh meals. 

Armando so kindly invited myself and Lilya the volunteer coordinator into his home. He shared with us fresh dried fruit, wine, a papaya and guava drink that all came from his farm.