My fourteen year old daughter inspired our journey to Guatemala and it was one of the best experiences of my life. When asked what she wants to do when she graduates from high school, her response has always been that she wants to help people. It seemed a volunteer vacation would be a great way to explore that.
From the time we arrived in Guatemala, we received excellent support from the staff at Maximo Nivel. A volunteer orientation was held the first day where we learned about the city of Antigua, safety, travel opportunities, Spanish class options, etc. A staff person from Maximo then led us on a tour to help us orient ourselves and pointed out banks, shopping, restaurants and other useful information.
Later that day we met with another Maximo staff person and he took us via chicken bus to our placement at an after school program in San Antonio. He showed us where to get on and off, how much to pay and how to find the school we'd be working at. We were introduced to the director of the program and then stayed a bit observing and basically hanging out to get a feel for things.
Our two weeks working at the school were incredibly satisfying and fun! Maximo's advice about being flexible is important to remember. This was not a US after school program, it was much looser. Be prepared to have some ideas on how to help with Math and English, especially if you don't speak much Spanish. It was challenging in the best of ways and every effort we made was truly appreciated.
We were in a home stay with the most amazing family! Everyone I've spoken with has been very happy with their accomodations and meals.
I could go on and on about how wonderful our experience was, but the main thing is if you're reading this and considering doing it, I strongly encourage you to go for it!! It was the experience of a lifetime and we look forward to working with Maximo Nivel in their other locations!