A look at our work in 2022, a year full of connections and impacts

 

On 5th December we celebrated International Volunteer Day (IVD). 2022 celebrates the theme of solidarity through volunteering. This campaign highlights the power of our collective humanity to drive positive change through volunteerism.

 

At One, Two… Tree! we are all volunteers. It is a project made by people from all around the world who want to share and connect with others. 

 

This year, we have had the privilege of working with 29 English teacher volunteers (27 onsite plus 2 online) from 12 different countries and two young professionals who carried out internships related to their field of studies with us, supporting us in the administrative area. Each volunteer has collaborated in their own unique way, allowing for everything that has happened throughout the year.

Meet our volunteers from 2022

 

After the isolation that the pandemic brought, 2022 has been all about making up for the time when we all had to stay home: sharing and making connections, bringing back face-to-face learning, spending time together, exploring, and participating in new activities.

 

Thanks to our volunteers this year we:

 

  • Taught over 400 students across 5 public schools, a community school and one secondary school. 
  • Delivered two 4-month English programs to kids, teenagers and adults at our dedicated learning centre, supporting 125 children and 90 adults from Santiago on their English learning journey. 
  • Delivered 1:1 and group conversation classes in person and online so we could help our students reach their learning goals.
  • Created a mini English library at our learning centre from where our students can borrow books to keep practicing in their own time.
  • Supported coffee cooperative CoAtitlán practicing their coffee tour in English and learned loads in the process!
  • Collaborated with Cojolya, a collective of mother artisans, tutoring and organising English activities for their kids, translating weaving classes and supporting with fundraising and social media posts in English.
  • Participated in beach cleans, tree planting and at a local tree nursery producing compost from the coffee pulp. We called these activities our green gym!
  • Organised cultural events and workshops to share and learn from each other.
  • Reviewed and updated our curriculum at schools while creating a whole new curriculum for adult lessons.
  • Participated in an NGO networking event organised by El Directorio de Guatemala, where we could connect and share with other Guatemalan NGOs.

 

Have a look at our end-of-the-year video for 2022 and what it has been like studying and volunteering at One, Two… Tree! this year

 

 

A big thank you to all volunteers who have made this year possible and so special. Let us share with you some thoughts and reflections from some of our volunteers.

 

 

 

Volunteer interviews 

 

Toño (23, local to Santiago) 

 

Toño teaching at our learning centre in Santiago Atitlán his hometown 

                         

Toño first met One, Two… Tree! as an English student himself. His confidence, cheerful attitude and fluent English made him want to volunteer as an English teacher to the children attending our Learning Centre.

 

 

What did you enjoy most about your volunteering experience?

I liked teaching and helping students who have the enthusiasm to learn, spending time with people from different parts of the world and sharing our different cultures

 

What do you like most about Santiago?

I love the nature, the magic and the beauty, and that includes the people. It’s a very welcoming place. 

 

What do you like about your country in general?

The sites you can visit, and how friendly people are no matter which part of Guatemala you visit. I especially like the beautiful lake Atitlán and the villages around it. 

 

Why did you decide to join the organisation? 

To be able to help my community and be a person of change for my country.

 

What is one thing you would say to someone who is thinking of joining?

That you should take the opportunity to volunteer because no matter what you do, you will leave a mark wherever you go.

 

 

 

Sonia (52, Spain) 

 

Sonia enjoying a secret garden in Antigua

 

Sonia came for three months to share her extensive knowledge of teaching English which she has done for over 20 years! She helped us develop our current methodology, volunteers’ training and created content for our children and adults curriculum. We can’t thank her enough for all her energy and support.

 

 

What did you enjoy most about your volunteering experience?

I took pleasure in many things, like discovering hidden places and diving in the « pacas » (second-hand shops). But I especially enjoyed trying to work out how to implement my knowledge and experience in a context that posed many challenges.

 

How was your experience living in Santiago?

Life in Santiago is very lively, noisy and friendly. You’ll never get bored.

 

What about Guatemala in general?

The country is simply beautiful. The small villages around the lake and the volcanoes are stunning. Tikal is out of this world.

 

Why did you decide to join the organisation? 

They were looking for a profile that happened to match mine. I also thought they had a very interesting project going on, so I didn’t think about it twice. Off I went!

 

What is one thing you would say to someone who is thinking of joining?

I would suggest being open-minded and receptive. And to bring a pair of wellies!

 

 

 

Carmela (31, Spain – our current volunteer coordinator!)

 

 

 

Carmela at Cafe Sabor Cruceño in Santa Cruz

 

Carmela arrived as a volunteer early in the year and fell in love with the town and the project. She was keen to get involved in everything she could connecting other local projects in Santiago with One, Two… Tree! fostering collaborations across the different organisations.

 

 

What did you enjoy most about your volunteering experience/ experience as a coordinator?

I loved meeting people from Guatemala and all parts of the world. I also liked how many local projects there are to get involved in. Everyone I’ve met has been very welcoming and I’ve felt very useful and fulfilled throughout my time.

 

How was your experience living in Santiago?

I’ve never lived in a village before, so I enjoyed the community vibe for example walking everywhere, saying hi to people I know in the market and buying things from my neighbours. People have also offered lots of opportunities for cultural experiences. I’ve been surprised and grateful throughout my time here. 

 

What about Guatemala in general?

It is a surprising country; it is so rich in culture and colour. The people I’ve met have been kind, welcoming and polite. There are many breathtaking sites to explore and have an amazing diversity of nature and culture. There is also so much history here that I discovered more and more of throughout my time. 

 

Why did you decide to join the organisation? 

I was changing careers from the corporate world into working with NGOs. I came here first as a volunteer and I felt it was a place I could stay for the whole year. When the last coordinator was thinking of finishing her time at the organisation she helped me to step up and continue with the project as a coordinator.

 

What is one thing you would say to someone who is thinking of joining?

I would say reflect on why you’d like to join, be mindful of your expectations and be prepared to be surprised and have a different way of life here. 

 

 

 

Lauranne (26, Belgium)    

 

 

Lauranne in Santiago Atitlán

 

Lauranne arrived in September, eager to contribute to the project. She led classes at the school of Pachichaj which we were able to incorporate into the program late in the year as the number of volunteers increased.                                                                            

 

What did you enjoy most about your volunteering experience? 

I loved living with other volunteers throughout the experience, and with a local host family. 

 

How was your experience living in Santiago?

It’s been an authentic and real Guatemalan experience. Living by the lake is breathtaking. I had breakfast with a view of a volcano every day and I could never get enough. 

 

What about Guatemala in general?

It’s such a beautiful country yet I didn’t know much about it before coming. In every part of the country, you will find different cultures, landscapes and experiences.

 

Why did you decide to join the organisation? 

Because it is a real volunteer experience, not like the many ‘voluntourism’ organisations out there. You live with a local host family and your rent goes directly to them.

 

What is one thing you would say to someone who is thinking of joining?

What you do, even if it seems small, can have such a big effect. Like the butterfly effect.

 

 

 

Rueben (19, the Netherlands)

 

 

Rueben at Mirador Kiaq’Aiswaan in San Juan la Laguna

 

Rueben decided to take a gap year to travel and volunteer before getting into university. From being our Social Media manager to designing infographics, preparing movie afternoons, role plays for his students in school and developing the content of our teenage course he is definitely a resourceful person! All with a smile always on his face, wishing you the best of luck Rueben!

 

 

What did you enjoy most about your volunteering experience?

I liked how we have the freedom to explore Guatemala. We don’t have full working days and we have 3-day weekends so there’s plenty of time for trips together.

 

How was your experience living in Santiago?

The location of Santiago is amazing. I also felt like we had many opportunities to connect with the culture here.

 

What about Guatemala in general?

Guatemala is an amazing country. During our time here, we’ve been able to explore a lot of different parts. Some of them include: Xela, Antigua, Chichicastenango and surfing in el Paradón!

 

Why did you decide to join the organisation? 

For a new experience, I could tell that it was an authentic organisation and that I would be valued. It’s also accessible to everyone because you don’t need to be a qualified teacher to join the team as long as you are keen to learn and have a passion for education. 

 

What is one thing you would say to someone who is thinking of joining?

Just do it, you won’t regret it. This type of volunteering can suit many different types of people. There are so many things to do and explore and you’re always with the other volunteers so you never feel alone. 

 

 

 

Would you like to volunteer with us in 2023?

 

We are always looking for passionate and proactive volunteers, full of energy and enthusiasm to make a difference. 

 

Do you have a passion for education, openness to new cultures, and a drive to learn new skills? Do you have experience teaching, tutoring, or engaging with children and have a fluent level of English? 

 

Would you like to be part of a proactive and supportive team where your ideas and thoughts will be heard and important in the day-to-day of the project?

 

Volunteering abroad with One, Two… Tree! is FREE, our English teacher volunteers only pay for their own expenses which go directly to the local families and businesses volunteers interact with. You can either send us an email at guatemala@onetwo-tree.com, complete the form on our website, or contact us through Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

 

We can’t wait to meet you!

 

 

 

Would you like to collaborate with us in 2023?

 

Are you a public or non-profit educational institution, cooperative, NGO, or local association seeking English support and volunteer work? Are you located in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, for onsite support or in Central America for online support?

 

Are you another type of organisation or located elsewhere but feel we could collaborate to make English accessible in Central America?

 

Get in touch with us by either sending us an email at guatemala@onetwo-tree.com,  or contacting us through Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

 

We can’t wait to know more about your project!