I came to Xela primarily to improve my Spanish. I then came across TRAMA once I was here and saw an opportunity where I could actually be of help. TRAMA relies on volunteers to connect the incredible cooperative to the rest of the world. The volunteers mean TRAMA can sell its beautiful hand woven products globally, through its Esty page, and also become known worldwide, just recently TRAMA was a major exhibit at the Canadian Human Rights Museum.
Volunteering at TRAMA has enriched my time in Xela. TRAMA has a diverse international team. By working at TRAMA and spending time with Amparo and Oralia, I have learnt first-hand about Mayan culture, Guatemalan history, and social issues that Guatemala faces. I also have had a great opportunity to improve my Spanish in a different context. Having worked at a marketing firm for six months previously, my month at TRAMA has also been great for developing my marketing skills and building experience. TRAMA has an open atmosphere that allowed me to take initiative and be creative with the content I created. The team always want to hear your ideas and are ready to support you in executing them.
Xela is a wonderful place to spend an extended period of time in. It is an authentic Guatemalan city that is easy to immerse yourself in, with a real mix between locals, expats, and tourists. It is the perfect size, and well located with a wealth of activities that are more than feasible in a weekend…Antigua, Lago Atitlan, Volcan Tajumulco, Laguna de Chicabal, Huehuetenango to mention a few.
I highly recommend volunteering at TRAMA. It is a volunteering opportunity where you are needed and can make an impact in terms of growing a fair trade cooperative that provides work for over 400 women, but also you can gain a lot from it too. From developing your professional skills, to improving your Spanish, to gaining a cultural experience.
I’m off to travel for a few weeks through the north of Guatemala and Mexico with another volunteer that I met at TRAMA, before returning to university in the UK.