Guatemala

Brewing Justice

Applications Closed!

Applications Closed!

Guatemala

Brewing Justice

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  • Deconstruct the myths and discover the realities of fair trade while cultivating coffee on the slopes of Volcán Aqua alongside local farmers.
  • Meet revolutionary guerrillas-turned-reformers in Santa Anita La Union who’ve traded bullets for coffee beans to continue a grassroots, non-violent movement towards justice and equality in Guatemala.
  • From hiking along a volcanic ridge line to soaking in mineral hot springs and a volcanic lake, experience Guatemala’s astounding natural beauty up close and personal.
  • Ring in the New Year while watching fireworks along the shoreline of Lake Atitlan.

Program Dates

December 27, 2017 – January 3, 2018
Applications Closed!

Fees + Community Contribution 

$1,320 + $95
$1,450 + $105
Currency:

 

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Sample Itinerary

*This itinerary is based on our previous experience with the region. Programs change every year based on the needs of our partners. This should give you a sense of what our program may look like.

Orientation
Location: Guatemala City, Antigua

We begin our Guatemalan adventure at the front doors of La Aurora International Airport but quickly take our orientation to Antigua, where our group will acclimatize to the sights, smells, sounds, and smiles of the region. We’ll explore the cobblestone streets of Central America’s historic colonial capital and orient ourselves to the country’s cultural and geographic landscape.

Coffee & Culture
Location: Antigua, San Miguel Escobar

On our first full day we’ll dive right into explorations of Guatemala’s third largest export: coffee! We’ll head out to nearby San Miguel Escobar to explore the coffee chain from seed to shelf with De La Gente, a sustainable agricultural cooperative focused on direct trade. We will join founding members Filiberto and Timoteo on the slopes of Volcán Agua where we will learn to pick, process, and roast our coffee. We’ll then sit down with our hosts to share a traditional Guatemalan meal.

Coffee Revolutions
Location: Xela, Santa Anita

After a morning traveling by chicken bus along the Pan-American Highway, we’ll make a pit stop in the indigenous metropolis of Xela for lunch. Here we’ll join revolutionary-turned-reformer, Willy, at Cafe La RED KAT for a delicious meal and an insightful chat about the challenges facing campesinos and their struggle to integrate into the new socio-economic order.

In the afternoon, our group will travel to the community of Santa Anita and home of APCASA, a coffee association founded by former civil war combatants. These soldiers-turned-farmers perceive coffee differently: it is not just an exportable commodity but also a symbol of revolutionary solidarity. Staying in family homes, we’ll have the opportunity hear their stories and share our own while building friendships and deepening our understanding of the coffee revolution.

Growing Change
Location Santa Anita

The following day, we’ll share a day in the life of a Guatemalan coffee farmer. We’ll take to the fields to harvest ripe, red coffee fruit and collaborate on the construction of the community’s new beneficio or mill. It’s here that the community’s coffee will be washed, depulped, fermented, dried, and sorted – all in preparation for the international market.

A New Year Above the Clouds
Location: Zunil, Quetzaltenango

Bright and early on New Year’s Eve, we will say farewell to Santa Anita and journey to the town of Zunil to begin an epic trek along the 7 Cruces ridgeline. Pushing ourselves physically over the course of this 22 km trek, we will experience the immense beauty of Guatemala’s highland plateau before hiking down through cloud, pine, and bamboo forests to Fuentes Georginas, a volcanic hot spring. We’ll take some time to enjoy a good soak before traveling to Lake Atitlan where we’ll ring in the new year with a spectacular display of fireworks set off by each of the eleven towns and villages surrounding the lake!

Lago Livin’
Location: Lago Atitlan

On January 1st, 2018, we’ll wake up in a bamboo bungalow at Operation Groundswell’s place-based operations or Hub, located on the shores of beautiful Lago Atitlan. The Hub is a physical embodiment of OG’s culture, philosophy, and mission. It is a place where solidarity is cultivated in and between people and local partners through conversations and collaborative projects. It is also a site where OG can test and develop new ways to create positive impact alongside our participants and our local partners. We will use our time here to get our hands dirty and dig into alternative agricultural projects on the site.

Disorientation
Location:Lago Atitlan

On our final day, we’ll have the chance to explore the town’s many famous women’s weaving cooperatives or simply stroll along the shore of a volcanic lake, before reflecting on our awesome adventure as a team. We will discuss lessons learned, assess our impact, and prepare for the journey home.

Departures
Location: Guatemala City

Finally on day 8, with hearts full of memories, we will return to Guatemala City where our group will say adios and adelante!

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What’s Included?

A comprehensive program itinerary and educational curriculum focused on the issues facing your specific region

Experienced and caring program leaders with you 24 hours a day

All lodging and accommodations throughout the program

Three local meals a day

All group tours, entrance fees, and excursions

All group transportation on the ground

Regular discussions and workshops to help you internalize and reflect on your experience

Support from OGHQ whenever you need it

Accommodations

With OG, you live like the locals.
This is not a vagabond’s adventure nor is it a five-star jetsetter’s cruise. We will be sleeping and eating as a team in hostels, homestays, and guesthouses that reflect a backpacker’s ethos. Grassroots travel and homestays will allow us to immerse in the local culture but living as Guatemalans do sometimes means living without some of the comforts to which we’re accustomed. Creepy crawlies are common while comfy beds can’t always be guaranteed – so come prepared! Be ready to share the wonderful simplicity of life in rural Guatemala.

Meet Your Regional Director

Christine Sanderson

Christine fell in love with Latin America’s cultures, landscapes, and language as a teenager living in Chile and couldn’t get enough. She continued her southern adventures working on an archeological dig in Peru and establishing a community library and youth music program in rural Nicaragua, before finally diving head first into the land of beans & corn tortillas (a.k.a. Guatemala).  Since then, she’s led two seasons of OG programs and after hiking in the highlands, experiencing fast-paced local transit, and becoming addicted to Guatemalan coffee, there’s no turning back!  She’s now living and working at the Hub full time as Guatemala’s Regional Director.  When she’s not in the office you can find her playing with the Hub dogs, Luna & Cappu, climbing another volcano, or out practicing her salsa moves.

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