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March 2016

This Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip to Guatemala was organized and leThe Teamad by Hugh and Glenda Wyatt with a help from Habitat Global Village Canada and Habitat Guatemala. The team was made up of nine members, all from Edmonton Alberta. Most of the team had been on at least one Global Village build so knew what to do and many of the team also volunteer with Habitat Edmonton on a regular basis so knew each other before going on this build.
Our Habitat Guatemala coordinator was Fredy Perez and he did a wonderful job keeping us focused on the work that needed to be done but more importantly was a great guide on our various excursions. He knows a great deal about Guatemala and its history.
The build was in Rabinal which is a town of about 40,000 residents located in the   Guatemalan Department of Baja Verapaz and is about a four hour drive north of Guatemala City. The area around Rabinal is mountainous and remote.
According to the literature published by Habitat Guatemala, the population of Baja Verapaz is 59% indigenous, ranks 6th in poverty in the country, with over 70% of the population living in poverty (defined as earning less than the minimum wage, but still able to meet basic food needs), and over 21% living in extreme poverty (defined as earning less than the minimum wage and unable to meet basic food needs).  Among the sources of income in Baja Verapaz are agriculture as well as ceramic crafts.
Habitat Guatemala was founded in 1979 and currently has an in country staff of 150 and hosts an average of 1,400 international volunteers annually in addition to 700 national volunteers on 181 Local Committees. Services include financing, home construction, home improvements, disaster relief, and educational workshops. An average of 3,000 families are served every year
Our project was to build a house for Natalia Lopez and her husband Sylvester Coloch on the western outskirts of Rabinal. The family had provided the land which is required by Habitat Guatemala and they were living in a rented building next to the build site.
The Habitat house is approximately 20’x20’ (6mx6m) and consisted of three rooms plus a toilet. Construction was concrete block with horizontal and vertical rebar and concrete at engineered intervals with a corrugated metal roof on tubular steel supports.
In conjunction with the build Habitat Guatemala arranged visits to a local ceramic factory, a nature reserve, a sacred Mayan cave, a Memorial Museum in memory of the many local people who were killed during the Guatemalan Civil war and Cubulco, which is a small town in the department of Baja Verapaz.
After the build the team went to Antiqua which is a colonial city originally founded by the Spanish conquistadors in 1543. After a night in Antiqua some of the team went home and others stayed on to explore Guatemala. I spent a couple of days in Flores and visited the Mayan site at Tikal and then went to Caye Caulker in Belize for a week.
To make it easier to review the photos I have divided my photos into a number of categories. Following are links to each of the pages:

The Build             Other Photos
Family                     Rabinal
House                     Quetzal Biotope & Maya Cave
Build site                 Antigua
Day Trips                Antiqua Ruins
Ceramics               Other Guatemala
Team                      Flores

For more information on Habitat for Humanity click on the following links:
                        Habitat Canada
                        Habitat Global Village
                        Habitat Guatemala (in Spanish)