Proyecto de Reforestación Chico Mendes
Up in the cornfields of Pachaj in Cantel (10km out of Quetzaltenango), Armando has created an inspiring project to combat environmental degradation and stand up for indigenous rights. The Chico Mendes Reforestation Project (Proyecto de Reforestación Chico Mendes) is a community-run initiative that provides an awesome opportunity to work in solidarity in a rural village while living with a local family and learning about environmental issues.
Chico Mendes is a non-profit organization; all proceeds from Spanish/K'iche' classes, volunteers, and treks go directly back into maintaining the project. Individuals or groups can come and stay at the project for a minimum of five days, although many stay for a few weeks or even months. Every volunteer lives with a local family and is provided 3 meals per day and a private bedroom for Q100. Please contact Armando for more information about group trips.
Normally for the greater part of the morning hours, volunteers collect seeds and fertilizer, plant seedlings in bags, transplant bigger trees in the forests, and care for the already planted trees by watering, etc. These are all daily tasks that can be performed at any given time, depending on the season and what work needs to get done. Afternoons may consist of other activities, rest, time with host families, and getting to know the community. Weekends are generally rest days.
Even though the focus of the project lies in reforestation, Chico Mendes helps to strengthen the community by working with local school children on environmental issues, as well as developing coping mechanisms to handle the trash-situation in the area.
Community activities are frequent, and volunteers are welcome to join. Chico Mendes is located only 20 minutes away from Quetzaltenango/Xela, the second largest city in Guatemala, so volunteers have easy access to facilities, markets, and conveniences in the city as needed.
The village of Pachaj, though nearby, feels far removed from the bustle of urban life. Mountains surround the valley, most with beautiful trails through precious, still-forested corridors. Friendly locals enjoy meeting visitors, and some will practice basic English with you. Spanish and Maya K'iche are the languages of the region.
To be able to grow stronger and to fulfill our goals, to protect the environment and empower the next generation of indigenous Guatemalans… WE need YOUR help!
We hope you will consider volunteering with us. Contact us to make an impact, get your hands dirty, and plant some trees!