Volunteer Projects

Volunteer Projects
Buenas Cosas is all about direct volunteer projects. We engage and our volunteers directly – their contributions support sustainable, social development in our Guatemalan Partner Communities.

We currently serve 20 Partner Communities with ~5,000 families in Peten Guatemala. We work with local community stake-holders and customize our volunteer projects to meet each Partner Community’s unique culture, ecosystem and needs.

Choose your track Traveler or Volunteer, donate to a volunteer project – it’s yours. Or choose from one of our Free volunteer projects. It’s all good. Whatever works best for you :)

Below are our 11 donation supported volunteer projects…

Good Animals volunteer projectGood Animals volunteer project – our free-range/organic chicken and goat project provides cheese, eggs and poultry for our community. Goats are also loaned/rented to landowners to eat weeds, instead of chopping and burning. Of course, our chickens and goats are an excellent source of 100% organic fertilizer for our organic gardens. Fresh, free-range, happy chicken eggs are a very Good Thing. Volunteers your $119 non-GMO chickens plus feed+tools+supplies and your participation for up to one a month. Travelers – sorry, the logistics of this project make it impossible for your participation. Learn More


Good Bikes volunteer projectGood Bikes volunteer project – this program has two goals, giving kids in our Partner Communities something good to do and encouraging clean/healthy transportation in our Partner Communities. If you can, bring your bike! We’ve got excellent road rides and surreal MTB trails everywhere. Volunteers your $99 buys a bike parts + supplies and your participation for up to one month. Travelers your $15 supports your participation for a half-day. If you like to ride bikes, if you like to work on bikes, if you like the idea of one less car and alternative transportation, you’ll love this program: bike races, training rides, bicycle maintenance + repair, bicycle ecotours development. Learn More


Good DIY volunteer projectGood DIY volunteer project – DIY is an abbreviation for Do-It-Yourself. We’re happy to work with you to design a volunteer project that will be successfully produced and implemented in one of our Partner Communities. Absolutely any volunteer project you have in mind will be carefully crafted to assure it’s success. Volunteers your $149 supports your participation for up to one month. Travelers your $15 supports your participation for a half-day. Learn More


Good Gardens volunteer projectGood Gardens volunteer project – organic gardens average 2×3 meters and are self-sustaining through community and volunteer participation. Produce from our organic gardens are eaten and sold by the families who host and care for them. Bring all the organic/heirloom/no-GMO seeds you can stuff in your suitcase – we need them all! If you like to garden, this is a perfect for you. Volunteers your $49 buys tools + supplies and and your volunteer participation for up to one month. Travelers your $5 supports your participation for a half-day. You’ll be participating in one of our most popular volunteer projects. Learn More


Good Homes volunteer projectGood Homes volunteer project – many of the homes in Guatemala are little more than mud, sticks and plastic wrap topped with a few sheets of leaky, rusted sheet metal. We’ve got a deserving, happy Guatemalan family waiting to help you build their home. We build small, comfortable little homes. You’ll be going with us to help select the family, lay block, mix cement, saw wood, pound nails, install running water or a new bathroom. Help us do some good things for a good family. As a Volunteer your project donation of $5,900 co-creates one nice, dry, eco-friendly home and up to 18 participants. Travelers – sorry, the logistics of this volunteer project make it impossible for your  participation. Learn More


Good Kids volunteer projectGood Kids volunteer project – working with elementary school directors in our Partner Communities, we provide our English-speaking volunteers an opportunity to teach conversational English to kids. These English classes emphasize fun, songs and games – conversational English and is one of our most popular programs. No teaching experience needed. Beginner conversational Spanish recommended – but it’s certainly not required. We had many successful participants who knew almost no Spanish make an incredible contribution. Volunteers your $49 buys dry-erase boards/chairs/desks for under-funded teachers / classrooms and your participation for up to one month and we’ll need at least a two-week commitment. Travelers – sorry, the logistics of this project make it impossible for your participation. Learn More


Good Maya volunteer projectGood Maya volunteer project – we produce and market Mayan weave chairs, desks, hammocks, stools and tables. Locally grown mahogany (caoba) is cut, assembled and then finished and fitted with a hand-woven Mayan weave. All our incredibly comfortable, durable, portable and easily stored. Participate in this volunteer program and you’ll also have access to weekly Maya cooking or medicinal plants workshops. Learn how to prepare Mayan atols, chiliquillas, chocolates, tamales and more. Or, opt for the jungle medicine workshops. Learn how jungle plants are used by the Maya to treat cancer, liver issues, STDs, stress and lots more. Volunteers your $159 will carry your participation for up to one month. Travelers your $20 will support your participation for a half-day. Your donation will stock our supplies and you’ll learn to weave like the Maya / cook like a Maya / use Maya Jungle medicine. If you have the time, weave your own Maya hammock and take it with you. Learn More


Good Stoves volunteer projectGood Stoves volunteer project – the majority of the people in Guatemala use firewood (leña) to cook. Very few Guatemalan families have a proper cook stove, wasting wood/time/money and filling their homes with cancer-causing carcinogens. Too many Guatemalan women are breathing this stuff and dying from lung cancer. We’re helping with construction and installation of ultra-efficient, low-cost, home-made wood stoves. These stoves burn 75% less wood, save money and drastically reduce pollution. Volunteers it’s $179 for each stove. These are hybrid rocket stoves adapted to the preferences of members in our Partner Communities. This is your opportunity to learn more about the elegantly simple methods used to create an efficient wood cookstove / oven. Travelers – sorry, logistics of this volunteer project make it impractical for your participation. Learn More


Good Tech volunteer projectGood Tech volunteer project – bring your electronic device/s and train people in our Partner Communities to use digital technology for good. Do you know digital design, programming, PHP, Ruby, WordPress, Joomla, a/v editing, DJ skills, Internet… the list goes on an on. This is one-on-one, no classrooms. Basic conversational Spanish suggested. Bring an old laptop with you – we need all of those we can get! In any case, this is a great opportunity to improve your Spanish and help bring tech to the good people in our Partner Communities. We just dropped a 5MB wireless connection. If bandwidth is your thing – we should have all you need. Volunteers your $49 buys connectivity + tech parts + supplies for a Partner Communities and supports your volunteer participation for up to one month. Travelers – sorry, the logistics of this project make it impossible for your participation. Learn More


Good Trees volunteer projectGood Trees volunteer project – it all started with a bag of seeds. A few years ago a friend of ours gave us a bag of seeds. The seeds were from the guanacasta tree. They’re really pretty. We filled a large white bowl with the seeds and they sat on our table. It felt good to put your hands in all those seeds. Years later, we planted the seeds and had a bunch of guanacasta trees. Volunteers your $49 buys tools + supplies, helps reduce carbon, gives needy families in our Partner Communities shade from the hot Guatemalan sun and perhaps some almonds (kids here love the fruit), cashews (cashew apples are hyper nutritious) or a Cedro tree (natural mosquito repellent) and supports your participation for up to one month. Travelers your $5 supports your participation for a half-day. Learn More


The Central American River Turtle / Dermatemys Mawii / Hickatee is a big, vegetarian turtle found in Guatemala, the last species of a group that traces its ancestry back to the time of the dinosaurs with no changes in appearance. The Mawii 7th most endangered turtle in the world - critically endangered. Yes, the Mawii is much more engangered that any sea turtle. The mawii's meat is highly prized in Guatemala for Lent, Easter and other religious celebrations. Mawii meat is so valuable that collectors charter planes to fly into remote wetlands in Peten to collect the turtles and fly them out for slaughter. Many Guatemalans believe the eggs of the Mawii turtle enhance male virility. We're working towards a Mawii turtle reserve, hatchery and reintroduction program. The goal of Good Turtles program is to generate Mawii hatchlings and release them to repopulate depleted wild populations and relieve pressure on local populations. In the meantime, we're focusing on education, identifying / preserving existing Mawaii turtle habitats and establishing Mawii safe-zones with the cooperation of private land owners. At 20kg / 44lbs, Mawii are big turtles. The mama Mawii are much bigger than the papa Mawii, and grow to 65 centimeters - two+ feet of turtle. Of course, baby Mawii turtles are super cute :) Learn MoreGood Turtles volunteer project – the Central American River Turtle /  Dermatemys Mawii / Hickatee is a big, vegetarian turtle found in Guatemala, the last species of a group that traces its ancestry back to the time of the dinosaurs with no changes in appearance. The Mawii is critically endangered. Yes, the Mawii is much more endangered that any sea turtle. The mawii’s meat is highly prized in Guatemala for Lent, Easter and other religious celebrations. Mawii meat is so valuable that collectors charter planes to fly into remote wetlands of Peten to collect the turtles and fly them out for slaughter. Many Guatemalans believe the eggs of the Mawii turtle enhance male virility. We’re working towards a Mawii turtle reserve, hatchery and reintroduction program. The goal of Good Turtles program is to generate Mawii hatchlings and release them to augment depleted wild populations and relieve pressure on these wonderful huge animals. In the meantime, we’re focusing on education, identifying / preserving existing Mawaii turtle habitats and establishing Mawii safe-zones with the cooperation of private land owners. At 20kg / 44lbs, Mawii are big turtles. The mama Mawii are much bigger than the papa Mawii, and grow to 65 centimeters – two+ feet of turtle. Of course, baby Mawii turtles are super cute :) Volunteers your $189 will carry your volunteer participation for up to one month. Travelers – sorry, the logistics of this project make it impossible for your participation. Volunteers, come help us save some Mawii turtles.  Learn More


 

 

…Free Volunteering…

Good Community volunteer projectGood Community volunteer project – Without community we are nothing. Community is the life-blood of any nonprofit social development organization. As many noted authorities in permaculture have shared, the majority of the challenges with permaculture is people, community. Not available to Travelers. This volunteer project is about nourishing our partner communities with the love they need to thrive. The volunteer project donation is $FREE$. That’s right this volunteer project is free. Learn More


Good Finca volunteer projectGood Finca volunteer project – You’ll be volunteering at our organic finca. This is a permaculture demonstration and education center for our incoming travelers, volunteers and community members.Not available to Travelers. Volunteers, you’re welcome to volunteer at the finca and be the start of some good permaculture. The volunteer project donation is $FREE$. That’s right this volunteer project is free. Learn More


ItsAllGood volunteer projectIt’s All Good volunteer project – Simply put, we put you where your needed. The volunteer project donation is $FREE$. Not available to Travelers. Volunteers, yes – that’s right this volunteer project is free. Learn More


 

Volunteer Project orientation and training

All our Travelers and Volunteers are provided with volunteer orientation and training on the proper way to handle themselves within our Partner Communities. Our volunteers respect the culture, traditions and values of our Partner communities – and we’re happy to show you the ropes. Since 2011, our orientation and training manual has been through dozens of revisions. It’s full of great little tips and tricks to make your volunteer project participation with us easy and enjoyable.

 

Security in Guatemala

Naysayers like to concentrate on the violence in Guatemala – nonsense. Yes, there’s violence in Guatemala – most is Guatemalan-on-Guatemalan. The reality is that Guatemala is very safe for foreign travelers and volunteers – and the statistics validate it. If you doubt this fact, visit the Thorntree forums at LonelyPlanet.com and do a little research. Share what you find with family/friends who express concern about your security and desire to travel or volunteer in Guatemala. It’s simple – boils down to just one thing…

don’t do anything stupid and nothing stupid will happen to you

We’ve designed our Traveler and Volunteer orientation and training to completely prepare you to safely experience all that we offer in Guatemala. Don’t do anything stupid. Absolutely no worries :)

 

Learning + Service

Our entire approach to voluntourism, specifically as it’s related your volunteer participation, is based on learning and service. With that in mind, you need to stand on your own two-feet, we’re not baby-sitters and we’re not here to force anything on anyone. We have a wealth of social development experience, a broad selection of volunteer opportunities, all the inter-cultural experience you can handle and we’re happy to share it all with our volunteers. But, you need to take the initiative. When you’re volunteering with Buenas Cosas in Guatemala: put down your tablet, get off the Internet, pull yourself out of your hammock, get out of your comfort-zone, be pro-active and help us do more good things :)


Traveler or Volunteer - which works best for you?


Testimonials from Travelers and Volunteers