Long Way Home is building a self-sufficient school in the Mayan highlands of Guatemala. Our mission is education, employment and environmental stewardship.
We have a volunteer program that runs year round and offer courses and workshops in greenbuilding and soon permaculture as well. Our school is an 18+ building campus using various natural, green and earthship-inspired techniques. The campus features solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, dry composting toilets, superadobe, rammed-earth tire structures, and more!
So far we have repurposed over 15,500 tires and 420 tons of trash in construction. The school serves 150 local students and employs 40+ local school and construction staff. The curriculum is project-based and equips students to carry out critical development projects in their community. They build smoke efficient stoves, water tanks, and compost latrines. In our one-month long Academy for international students, we build entire tire homes.
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Volunteers take part in our construction crew Mon-Fri 7am-4pm and have experiential learning in natural and green building techniques to construct a school campus. Activities may include making cob, compacting tires, cutting glass bottles to make bottle-bricks for natural lighting, using natural cactus nopal for sealants, etc.
Volunteers can stay at our shared house in the center of the Mayan community, San Juan Comalapa. Housing includes sheets, flush toilet and shower, shared kitchen, hammock, book exchange. Food is not included, but generally volunteers choose to cook communal meals, with purchased fresh produce from the local market.
Service groups take part in our construction crew Monday through Friday 7am-4pm. Participants will learn about natural building techniques which may include making cob, compacting tires, cutting glass bottles to make bottle-bricks for natural lighting, using natural cactus nopal for sealants, etc.
In addition to natural building, you will have the opportunity to learn about and experience local indigenous culture through weaving demonstrations, marimba bands, traditional foods, and more. This is also a wonderful time to practice your Spanish and perhaps learn some phrases in Kaqchikel, the local Mayan language.
Long Way Home values the energy and enthusiasm that student and professional service groups bring to the project! We offer a variety of packages to accommodate different budgets and schedule. Our most popular package is $600/person and includes the following:
--Round-trip transportation from Guatemala City Airport to San Juan Comalapa. A LWH staff member will be at the airport for the groups arrival and drive to Comalapa.
--Six night stay at Hotel Comalapa Sol, securely tucked within a typical multi-family complex, providing both the basics of lodging and a window into the local lifestyle. The family who lives there and runs the hotel are some of our closest friends in Comalapa and treat all of our groups like family. The bedroom situation is dorm style with multiple beds in each room and 1 shared bathroom, and 2 private bathrooms. The kitchen located on the first floor has a refrigerator, microwave, and propane stove for preparing meals. Wifi is also available.
--Two meals per day, lunch and dinner. Lunch will be prepared on the work site by a local family every day and dinner will be provided and prepared by a LWH staff member at the hotel. Breakfasts will be your responsibility, but of course we will take one of the group leaders into town to shop for food as soon as possible after your arrival.
--Cultural night at the Hotel where the family will prepare traditional dinner and entertainment will be provided by a local marimba band.
--An overnight excursion to Antigua, which includes accommodations and transportation. The excursion will be chaperoned by the volunteer coordinator, who will be able to show you around the sites and activities that Antigua has to offer.
Drinking water at both the hotel and the worksite.
Participants involved in the NGO Management Internship may expect to assist the community in every way possible. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about grant writing, social media and other creative administrative tasks for a non-profit organization. Interns will research, prioritize, and apply for grants from a variety of foundations and institutions.
Our vision includes investing in future projects with the aim of continually improving the Comalapan standard of living. Our ability to undertake these ventures depends on the success of future grants. We invite interns from a variety of academic and experiential backgrounds to lend their hands and ideas to better the community.
College credit is available as well as scholarships.
The Academy runs in March and July each year.
See a full description of the course at lwhome.org/academy
Size of project site
People on site
130 - 175
October to May
June to September
- shared rooms
- private room
- communal kitchen access
- over 80% locally sourced
- restaurant on site
- medium: voice calls (no video)
Long Way Home is currently offering the following opportunities:
- green building
- renewable energy
- social media
- natural building
- indigenous culture
- mayan language
Contact Long Way Home
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