The students of One, Two…Tree! speak up!

The students of One, Two, Tree! tell us about their English classes!  

 

We interviewed two One, Two…Tree! students to hear about their experiences learning English with our English teacher volunteers in Santiago, Guatemala.

 

Here’s what they had to say:

(Their answers are translated from Spanish)

 

Q: Hello! Thanks for doing this interview with us today! Could you introduce yourselves?

A: Hello! My name is Manuel Ixbalán. I am twelve years old. I have English lessons 2 times per week with One, Two…Tree!  

A: Hello, my name is Silvia Saquid. I am twelve years old. I have lessons 2 times a week.

Teaching English in Guatemala

Students Learning English in Guatemala

 

What is your favorite English lesson so far? Why?

Manuel: I like all the classes because we learn about many different topics.

Silvia: I think all the classes are my favorite because the activities are fun and we learn about many interesting topics. We learn how to talk about our family, what we like to do, and talk about nature.

 

What is your favorite English word? Why? How did you learn it?

Manuel: “Great”, because I use it to say that things are always great, like when I say something is great or stupendous. I heard it in some videos, and then I asked Gracia (my teacher) what it meant, and I liked to start to use it.  

Silvia: “Happy”, because everyone is happy when we come to English classes! We learned it in the class about emotions and colors. Happiness is represented by the color yellow.

 

Teaching English in Guatemala

Teaching English in Guatemala

 

 

Do you like learning from English teacher volunteers from other countries? What have you learned from them?

Manuel: Yes, I like it! Teacher Lily told me her house is next to Queen Elizabeth’s.

Silvia: I like it, because they talk to us about different things that we didn’t know, and also some of them are interested about the things that we do too.

 

What kind of games or activities do you enjoy playing in the classroom to help you learn English?

Manuel: I like all the activities. I really like to write on the worksheets and mime.

Silvia:  I really like it when they give us homework and explain it well so that we learn to do it ourselves, and that way we can remember the topics when we are at home alone. I also like when we spend time taking care of the plants after class.

 

English Class Students

English Class Students

 

What is your favorite part of studying with One, Two…Tree!?

Manuel:  Learning more English! And doing exercises in front of the class, because it helps us lose the fear of speaking in English and participating in public.

Silvia:  When we go to write on the board or participate in front of everyone. Because it helps me lose my fear of speaking in public in English

 

Would you like to say anything to your One, Two…Tree! teachers?

Manuel: That they keep doing their work! I’m really happy to participate in the classes.

Silvia:  I would tell them thanks for creating this English course, and they are helping us a lot to learn the English language. They are giving us an incredible opportunity because not many think about teaching English to children because in schools we do not have many English teachers. And here we learn and have fun too.

 

Learning English in Guatemala

Learning English in Guatemala

 

Thank you so much Manuel and Silvia for these thoughtful and insightful answers!

We are so proud of all of our students for studying hard and learning more and more English with our dedicated English Teacher Volunteers here in Santiago.

If you’re interested in having an impact in the community of Santiago, or would like to learn more about volunteering with us, please send us an email to: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com 

Informative Interview With Our Amazing English Volunteer: Kelly!

In this #InterviewSeries post, we interview Kelly, a volunteer from Greece who joined us in January. She shares all of the details about her time and experience as an English Teacher Volunteer with One Two… Tree! in Guatemala. Let’s get started!

 

Question (One Two… Tree!): Hi Kelly! Thank you for joining us for this interview.

Answer (Kelly): Hello! Thank you for inviting me to share my experience!

 

QCould you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

 

A: For as long as I can remember I have loved traveling, meeting people, and being a (non-formal) teacher :). I am a youth worker back in Greece and manage many global education projects. So, I thought, “what could be better than some action in the field with One, Two…Tree?”

 

English Teacher Volunteer in Guatemala

English Teacher Volunteer in Guatemala

 

Q: Could you provide some details about when and where you volunteered with us, and for how long?

 

A: I volunteered with One, Two…Tree! in rural Guatemala (I recommend always going to rural areas for such projects), in the village Santiago Atitlan on the Lake. I was there for 1 month; the first month of 2022 (wish it could have been for longer) for the best start to the year!

 

QCould you tell us a bit about what your daily life was like as an English volunteer?

 

A: My daily life was more than exciting. You are always doing so many different things with different people and with so many stimuli that you take with you back home. You are busy with the classes in the mornings, then have lunch with your host family or explore the colorful market and prepare your own food. Then, you prepare for class materials, grade, complete worksheets, participate in team meetings – you know… the teacher’s life!

 

Team activities on the weekends range from day trips around the lake to hiking and Mayan ceremonies, interactions with the locals- students or others – exploring the rich culture of Guatemala, and enjoying the warm hearts of the people. The list is as endless as your imagination!

 

English Classes in Santiago Atitlan

English Classes in Santiago Atitlan

 

QWhere did you stay in Santiago, Guatemala?

 

A: I stayed with a lovely local family, in a private room with a nice balance of autonomy and blending at the same time. Maritza, the host mom, was cooking for me and helped me practice Spanish in the most efficient way. Pedro, the host dad, was caring and also explained a lot about the institutions and situation in Guatemala. Azul, the sweet girl, was one of my students and it was amazing to see her at home and at school. The stay was very comfortable and very interactive. I really miss them!

 

Q: Did you feel that your volunteering work had an impact on the community?

 

A: Absolutely, from day 1. The engagement with the students in the English classes and beyond is so direct, and much needed. The classes are helping them to improve their lives, increase their employability and have a more dignified future. It is much more than that though, as it is a very enriching intercultural engagement, a beneficial way for both sides (volunteer and community) to gain more self-confidence, more ideas, self-esteem, deep connections, and life satisfaction.

 

One Two Tree Volunteering

One Two Tree Volunteering

 

Q: Did you have an opportunity to learn any Spanish?

 

A: ¡Absolutely! This was one of the highlights of the experience. Staying together with a family is the best way to learn the basics and beyond and become proud of it. Knocking down the language barrier also opens up the heart and makes the connections and your impact even deeper. You can also have a language exchange with your new Guatemalteco friends to boost your language skills!

 

QWhat is something you wish you knew before coming to Guatemala to volunteer?

 

A: I wish I knew how much you can do, give and learn – I would have scheduled to stay longer!

 

QWhat is the best memory you have from your experience?

 

A: It is impossible to pick just one, I have so many precious moments, connections, activities, smiles, and hugs. I think if I had to choose, it would be the first opening day of the One, Two…Tree! learning center that took place in February, thanks to the amazing teamwork by the volunteers. The reward of the emotions felt when the kids, teens, and adults were coming to learn English cannot be put into words.

 

Teaching English to Children in Guatemala

Teaching English to Children in Guatemala

 

Q: Do you have any advice for future volunteers who want to start this adventure?

 

 

A: Come live this life-changing experience, serve a community really in need, and receive more than you will give! Come with an open mind and an open heart leaving every fear from the Western world behind!

 

One, Two…Tree!: Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, Kelly!

Kelly: You’re welcome!

 

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering in Guatemala this year, please contact us at: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com

 

One Two Tree English Teacher Volunteer

One Two Tree English Teacher Volunteer

Entrevista informativa con uno de nuestros voluntarios: ¡Dani!

 

En esta publicación de nuestra #SerieEntrevistados, entrevistamos a Dani, un voluntario que se incorporó a nuestro equipo el año pasado. Él nos comparte todos los detalles sobre su tiempo y experiencia en Guatemala como profesor de inglés voluntario en One, Two… Tree!

 

Pregunta (One Two… Tree!): ¡Hola Dani! Gracias por acompañarnos en esta entrevista.

Respuesta (Dani): Gracias a ustedes por haberme invitado.

 

P: ¿Podrías presentarte y hablarnos un poco de tu trayectoria? 

R: Soy Dani Thomas y vivo en Pontypridd, en Gales. Soy programador informático desde hace muchos años y me apasionan la música y la política. También tengo un gran interés por los temas latinoamericanos y lo relacionado con el idioma español. Uno de mis sueños es pasar un tiempo en América Central o del Sur, quizás haciendo algún tipo de voluntariado.

 

P: ¡Vaya, parece que has hecho realidad ese sueño! ¿Podrías darnos algunos detalles sobre cuándo y dónde fuiste voluntario con nosotros, y durante cuánto tiempo? 

R: Empecé a colaborar como voluntario con One, Two…Tree! Guatemala en agosto de 2021. Fue la primera oportunidad que tuve en un tiempo, ya que los viajes al extranjero estaban prohibidos por la pandemia. Me quedé tres meses y estuve viviendo en Santiago Atitlán.

 

P: ¿Podrías contarnos un poco sobre cómo era tu vida cotidiana como voluntario?

R: Como la pandemia seguía teniendo repercusiones, no pudimos impartir en las escuelas todas las clases que se habían previsto en un principio. Se limitó a explicar y revisar las tareas y las clases se dividieron para mantener el número de alumnos. Sin embargo, iniciamos una clase para adultos que se impartía dos veces por semana y que incluía a varios trabajadores de la cooperativa local de café. Luego tuvimos que impartirlas virtualmente porque las normas de COVID cambiaron. También colaboramos con Amigos del Lago de Atitlán ayudando en sus proyectos de reciclaje.

 

 

Clase de inglés en Santiago, Guatemala

Clase de inglés en Santiago, Guatemala

 

P: ¿Podrías contarnos un poco sobre cómo era tu vida cotidiana como voluntario?

R: Como la pandemia seguía teniendo repercusiones, no pudimos impartir en las escuelas todas las clases que se habían previsto en un principio. Se limitó a explicar y revisar las tareas y las clases se dividieron para mantener el número de alumnos. Sin embargo, iniciamos una clase para adultos que se impartía dos veces por semana y que incluía a varios trabajadores de la cooperativa local de café. Luego tuvimos que impartirlas virtualmente porque las normas de COVID cambiaron. También colaboramos con Amigos del Lago de Atitlán ayudando en sus proyectos de reciclaje.

 

Voluntarios en el Lago de Atitlán, Guatemala

Voluntarios en el Lago de Atitlán, Guatemala

 

P: ¡Parece que pudieron adaptarse perfectamente! ¿Dónde te hospedaste en Santiago, Guatemala?  

R: Me hospedé en la casa de la Señora Argentina. Estuvo genial, ya que siempre fue muy servicial y atenta y conoce prácticamente a todos en Santiago.

*Argentina es una de las anfitrionas con las que colabora One, Two…Tree! Es una profesora jubilada de la ciudad de Guatemala, muy respetada y apreciada por la comunidad gracias a su trabajo en proyectos locales.  

 

P: ¿Crees que tu trabajo como voluntario ha tenido algún impacto en la comunidad?

R: Sí. A pesar de las dificultades ocasionadas por la pandemia, creo que tanto los niños como los adultos hicieron verdaderos progresos durante el tiempo que estuve allí.

 

Voluntarios en Guatemala

Voluntarios en Guatemala

 

P: ¿Tuviste la oportunidad de aprender algo de español? 

R: Aunque ya hablaba con bastante fluidez el español, fue estupendo tener la oportunidad de utilizar el idioma a diario. Sin embargo, como el tz’utujil es el idioma principal que se habla en la zona, decidí empezar a tomar clases en esa lengua, lo que me pareció muy interesante y enriquecedor y me permitió conocer la cultura maya. Al volver a casa, escribí una canción sobre Santiago en tz’utujil que menciona varios lugares y personas que conocí allí. La puedes ver aquí.

 

Dani, profesor de inglés voluntario en Guatemala

Dani, profesor de inglés voluntario en Guatemala

 

P: ¡Qué increíble! ¡Qué canción tan bonita Dani! Gracias por compartirla.  ¿Qué es lo que te hubiera gustado saber antes de venir a Guatemala como voluntario? 

R: ¡Nada inicia a la hora prevista!

 

P: ¿Cuál es el mejor recuerdo que tienes de esta experiencia?

R: Es difícil pensar en uno en particular. Disfruté mucho preparando las clases para adultos y pude mencionar algunos mitos y leyendas antiguos de Gales como parte de la explicación. Fue increíble explorar los distintos pueblos y aldeas que rodean el lago, cada uno con una personalidad y carácter diferentes. Visitar las ruinas de la capital prehispánica tz’utujil, Chuitinamit. También la amistad y el compañerismo con los demás voluntarios.

 

Profesores de inglés voluntarios en Guatemala

Profesores de inglés voluntarios en Guatemala

 

P: ¿Tienes algún consejo para los futuros voluntarios que quieran unirse a esta aventura?R: Yo diría que vale la pena hacerlo. Sin duda alguna, hazlo.

 

One, Two…Tree!: ¡Muchas gracias por compartir tu experiencia con nosotros, Dani!

Dani: ¡Ha sido un gusto!

 

Si quieres conocer más sobre el voluntariado en Guatemala este año, escríbenos a nuestro correo: guatemala@onetwo-tree.com 

 

#Interview Series: Leire

Hello! Welcome to this new interview!

Hello! Thanks for inviting me! It is nice meeting you.

Could you tell us more about your background? Are you studying/working?

I have a degree in Teaching (education), but I finished four years ago. Since then, I have been travelling abroad and now I am back in Spain.

 

How did you get to know 1,2 Tree?

So, I got a friend who was doing a volunteering experience in Nicaragua. I think it was five years ago, and she already had an experience with this organization, so when I started looking for NGOs offering volunteering experiences, I asked her for a recommendation and so that is how I became a 1,2 Tree volunteer.

 

How long did you volunteer with the organization? And Where?

I went there last year and I stayed almost two months: I went there at the end of October and I stayed until Christmas. I was in Mexico!

 

What was your daily life as an educational volunteer?

I worked four days: from  Monday to Thursday. Usually, we had from three to four lessons in the morning, in the public school and then we would switch to the boarding school because there were two schools. We used to go first to the boarding school indeed, stay there with the kins and also do some games.

 

How many volunteers were in the learning center with you?

We were five or six volunteers and we really had a good team! We used to go to different places and that really created a cool atmosphere to live in.

 

Which is the best memory you have of your experience there?

Nice question! I would say the day that we painted a tree on the wall: basically, we painted a wall and the kids had colored hands and it was amazing! Everyone was happy, singing and having fun. I really have a good memory of that day!

 

Oh wow! That seems very nice. I knew also other volunteers, first Totó told me that same memory.

 

Would you say that our volunteering work had an impact on the community/kids?

Yes, I really think so and I thought I also learned a lot from the kids and the local people back there.

 

Yeah, I can understand. Anyhow, sometimes there are many controversies regarding international volunteering activities, like programs where you need to pay a lot of fees. 123 is one of the few that you can trust for this!

 

I didn’t pay anything and this is the reason why I decided to start this project with 123. When you have to volunteer you are already ‘paying back’ I think. Of course, we bought some presents for the kids, but I never had to pay a fee. I knew what my money was for (e.g. food and accommodation costs) and my flight which I personally paid. I organized myself to book the ticket to go there.

 

What would you recommend to future volunteers who want to start this adventure?

I would say that it is an amazing experience! You will never forget it and I think to live the full experience to really understand it. You need to live it in person because there are no words to explain it.

 

I really recommend volunteering with 1,2 Tree. I really felt welcome when I went there. They explained everything, so I knew how was the project like. At the start, it’s gonna be hard,  don’t think you’re coming here for holidays and you’re not gonna work! They didn’t try to persuade me or else. So I would say that they are very clear and try to solve any problem. So if you have any doubts they would be happy to explain everything you need. I am really happy now.

 

 

#Interview Series: Teacher Totó

 

Welcome Everyone to the first of our #InterviewSeries. In this new section, you will get to know Former Volunteers, their stories, and past experience in One, Two… Tree! and take inspiration for your Future Volunteer Experience, when hopefully things will get back to normal. Enjoy!

 

This time we get to know Totó, a former Volunteer-Coordinator who has volunteered with One, Two ..Tree! for more than a year and who is currently working.

 

First, thank you very much for making this interview possible! As a fresh start, I would like to ask you a bit more about your background.

I am from Spain, from Vigo. I am Thirty-four and I was Thirty-two when I started working with One, Two… Tree! I’ve studied Journalism and worked in Marketing for many years. Then, back in 2018 I decided to quit that and went to Cambodia to volunteer as well. When I was there, I kind of knew about One, Two … Tree!, and Pedro; he told me that they were going to open a new project in Mexico. He already knew I wanted to volunteer with One, Two .. Tree and told me that it would have been great if I wanted to start a new project and collaborate with them. So, I decided to leave and start over again, because I didn’t like my job in Marketing, so I went to Zinacantán.

 

That’s very cool! And how long did you volunteer?

I was two weeks in Guatemala, in Santiago with Gergana and then I was for around a year with One, Two… Tree!

 

The project actually started in Nicaragua, which was the first project, and then it was April 2018 when a revolution started against the Government, and at that point, we were kindly asked to leave. Basically, right now Guatemala is the biggest one and Mexico is restarting again.

 

What was your daily life as a volunteer?

School starts at Nine or Ten, until Three o’clock. Each volunteer has one or two grades that they teach. They go to the school for three hours and then go to another school, which is a boarding school but not the kind of boarding school we are used to. These are proper schools made for kids from families who have poor resources, therefore they pay almost nothing and had numerous kids from 6 to 12/13 who live in a school by themselves. They have dorms, make their beds, etc.

 

And we would teach them another couple of hours and that is basically the beginning. Then we decided those kids from the boarding schools needed more support so we decided to go every afternoon. But it wasn’t always about English classes, it was more about being with them, playing some games, sometimes. We wanted to make those kids loved. It is hard to say but sometimes kids just need a hug and just need to know that they can be loved. Therefore, sometimes, we just had fun with them and that was the nicest thing we did during the second part of the year. In the end, we were also a big group of volunteers, around eight.

 

What I used to say to the volunteers was to try to take your mind out of everything you know and just enjoy it. If you want to do “this” with the kids, just do it. Just be respectful and kids are going to love it!

 

That’s also very rewarding from the human aspect.

I know that for me the important part was to enjoy what I was doing. If they liked an activity, I would repeat it until they stopped liking it.

 

Which was the best memory that you bring with you?

Well, there are many. But I guess at the end of the year when we were going to play with the kids in the afternoon, we had very close bonds with them and by the end of the term, we ended up painting the wall with the One, Two Tree Logo. And also, on that wall, we painted six trees. Those were really good days! But I might say that the best memory I had was during the last days when I had to leave, I was really sad to finish. Because, you know, when you start to connect, and all the volunteers are cool with each other. We all had good ideas. So yes, the last couple of weeks were the best, and also the summer camp that we made which was a lot of work, 4 weeks and 60 kids and our duty on the school. Everything went very well and the kids enjoyed it a lot!

 

Would you say your contribution had a social impact on the community?

Well, I believe the kids understood the meaning of learning English. For the development of the community and learned how to interact and bond with people from Abroad. “To break the walls”: that was one of the most relevant things.

 

I think the biggest impact was the kids learning and being able to make such connections which is really cool. They still don’t realize how important it is for their lives, to know that people from abroad don’t’ come to take advantage of them.

 

How is the Covid-19 impacting the Project at the moment?

I can speak for the Mexican Project. Schools are still closed, so even if we had volunteers, they would not be able to do anything. So I guess that is one thing that affects us, because they do not have this ‘continuous’ of volunteers. We really hope to restore the project as soon as there will be the safety conditions to do it!

 

As the last thing, what would you recommend to Future Volunteers who are willing to start this new Adventure?

Do it! Don’t think about it Twice. You won’r regret it. Just Enjoy the Experience! Time literally flies, so try to get the most of it from the very beginning. Especially if you go there for a month. It is really something you will remember and it is one of the best «job» to do.

 

It is always inspiring to listen to past Volunteers’ Experiences. Totó has certainly made a life experience that will always remember. And with him, also all the kids he had the chance to teach to. We sincerely hope to restore the projects as soon as the Health-Emergency will be over.

 

Thanks again to Totó for his time and we Wish the best of luck to him with his new Projects and Work in Central America!

 

Laura, una experiencia de primera mano

Hola, soy Laura y he vivido en Diriamba durante 2 meses, tiempo que claramente no fue suficiente para hacer y experimentar todo lo que había planeado. Entre preparar y dar clases, pasar tiempo con mi familia de acogida y viajar los fines de semana, nunca tuve un momento de aburrimiento.
Seguir Leyendo

Carrie Regenstreif

Canadiense

One, two…tree!

¡Una maravillosa experiencia!

Fue genial para mí el poder ser voluntaria por un periodo corto, porque no pude pasar más de un mes, pero sugerriría que la gente trate de quedarse por lo menos unos mesesSeguir Leyendo

Alejandro Ruiz Jiménez

Español

One, two…tree!

La familia que crece soñando, termina llegando lejos

La experiencia en One, Two, Tree fue para mí una forma diferente de viajar al otro lado del mundo. Soy una persona a la que le encanta trabajar con niños y poder colaborar con la gente de Guatemala fue muy satisfactorio para mí.Seguir Leyendo