Archive for the ‘Volunteer’ Category

A Clown’s Job

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

A Clown's Job by Sergio Dominguez

Guest contributor and photographer-on-the-go Sergio Dominguez, always seems to catch the most unusual shots. Life in Xela as it is…in motion. Here, he captures some clowns going about the not so glamorous side of “clowning around” as they help to unload a wheelchair from a truck. I would love to know the backstory of this shot, the curiousity is really getting to me!

Trama Textiles

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Trama Textiles by Luna McCarthy

Xela is a simmering pot full of fantastic organizations and a city well-known for volunteer opportunities and diversity of programs. As most of you know, travelers come from far and wide to learn Spanish and to volunteer. One of the many terrific organizations here is Trama Textiles, an association of female weavers who sell their products at reasonable prices, ensuring fair wages to the craftspeople and also offering weaving classes for anyone interested in learning about traditional weaving methods. You can find more information about Trama at their website:

Voces De Cambio

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Voces de Cambio the organization I have volunteered with helps young women develop leadership skills that help them build a more just society. The Class I had was wonderful, the young women shot some amazing projects. I am providing a link to the Voces de Cambio KickStart proposal in hopes that some of you will be able to help fund this amazing project and keep the doors open for these wonderful young women. The VDC proposal.

Mercado Las Flores

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Mercado Las Flores

As far as I know there are four main markets in Xela, which are Central Market, Mercado Las Flores, La Democracia and Terminal Minerva Market. As most of the visitors stay in the center, Zone 1, Central Market becomes one of the most visited markets.

However, Mercado Las Flores can also be one of frequently visited stops for your grocery shopping. Especially if you are staying or planning to stay at Casa Argentina or have anything to do with Quetzaltrekkers, which is a tour company run by volunteers, located in Casa Argentina, Mercado Las Flores would be your best bet, cuz it is a few blocks from there.

Mercado Las Flores Mercado Las Flores

TRAMA textiles

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011


Xela is surely one of the hot spots of volunteer work in Guatemala. TRAMA Textiles , which is a worker-owned women’s weaving association, will be more than happy to have you volunteer for them.

The Spanish word “trama” means “weft” or “binding thread”. However, the association’s perception of “trama” is extends beyond the definition itself. According to their website: “Our weavings clothe us, warm our families through highland winters, and carry our babies on our backs. They unite our people from generation to generation and sustain us as much as any food”.

As a response to the devastation from the civil war, TRAMA was established in 1988 as CENAT (Centro Nactional de Artesania Textile) with initial support from the Netherlands and Belgium.

As a member of the Association of Women for Artisan Development in Backstrap Loom Weaving, the goal of TRAMA Textiles is to support Gutatemalan women and increase their income by selling their textile products, while preserving the textile tradition of the country. Sololá, Huehuetenango, Sacatepéquez, Quetzaltenango and Quiché are the main regions that TRAMA is involved in.

Amparo de León de Rubio, 53, and Oralia Chopen, 34, are the only staff members at TRAMA textiles. Neither of them have a specific job description. According to Amparo, who came up with the idea to start an association, TRAMA has volunteers all year long. There are two or three volunteers at a time, and they are responsible for publicity, translation, website maintenance, or producing new ideas for marketing. Emanuelle Graciet, the current volunteer coordinator, said that, “TRAMA is basically run by volunteers”.

Applying for a volunteer position is simple. An e-mail stating your intentions to volunteer with your dates and duration of stay will be enough. Volunteer opportunities can be from one week to six months. There is no set work schedule, since your help is seen as a big favor. TRAMA can’t afford to provide room and board. They need Spanish speakers, but if you are not fluent in Spanish it is a good opportunity to practice.

Apart from the volunteering opportunities, you can also learn how to weave at TRAMA textiles and go back home with a piece of Guatemalan textile that you produce by yourself or you can shop from the store and contribute to the fair trade.