Dec 24, 2012

The New Hogar Abierto - it´s getting built!

Work continues on Casa Perry Hovde, the building that will be the Hogar Abierto´s new, enlarged and permanent home. Habitat for Humanity are hard work in improving the ground floor as well as adding a brand new second floor. 
The second floor - it´s aliiive!

While the current Quetzaltrekkers guides
continue to trek their hearts out in an effort to not only cover the day-to-day costs of EDELAC, but be able to contribute a sizeable chunk of the construction costs, there has been a fantastic wave of donations since word spread around the internet and real world of the reality of the Hogar Abierto Expansion Project.

The view from what will be the Sala Educativa

So far around $3500 has been donated, a truly amazing amount. If you are reading this as a donor, a massive thank you on behalf of everyone from EDELAC, but especially from the children of the Hogar Abierto.

This rather fantastic amount will relieve some of the pressure on EDELAC and QT, but we are still hoping to raise more! If you are reading this and are interested in making a donation, you can do so through Omprakash. If you would like to know more about the project before making a donation, please do not hesitate to contact QT for further information and for the latest updates.

Any money donated will be used to make the third payment to Habitat in March, thus these donations are for a real, happening project and not some future dream.

Donate now and know your donation will make a real difference!

Sep 23, 2012

The New Hogar Abierto

Eveyone here at EDELAC and QT are massively excited to announce our successful grant application to The Hovde Foundation for the Hogar Abierto Expansion Project.

Hovde has generously provided the capital costs to finance the outright purchase of a house here in Xela. A slight deviation from the original plans, see the original posts of this blog, but an outcome that will allow us to continue the core mission of EDELAC - providing a home for street children and providing a home for children at risk of becoming street children. By owning the Hogar instead of renting, EDELAC will be able add two more children just from the savings alone, and, having had to move the Hogar six times, owning our own building will add a greater degree of stability to the program - a true home for these children to grow up in.

The house is designed for up 28 children, and will be a major improvement over the current Hogar Abierto - more bathrooms, more communal space, more open space and more light. EDELAC will be working with Habitat for Humanity Guatemala in constructing a 2nd floor on the property as well as remodelling the ground floor. The purchase of the property was completed last Thursday (27th September) and work is scheduled to start as soon as possible, with a completion date early in the new year. The official title of the house will be "Casa Perry Hovde", in recognition of the generous donation from The Hovde Foundation which has made it all possible!

The grant from Hovde will cover the purchase of the house and about half of the remodelling/construction cost. The other half of these costs will be covered by EDELAC from various sources and, hopefully, from donations.

Any donation is gratefully received and rest assured that the money is going directly to the construction. It will not sit in a bank for a year... EDELAC's (and thus the children that it helps) need is urgent. Things such as ceramic floors and tiles (the "luxuries") will be the first to be cut from the construction if EDELAC falls short in fund raising. EDELAC has partnered up with the Omprakash Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization which facilitates secure, easy and tax exemptible donations.

Please click here to go to the QT Omprakash profile page and make a donation today. Every dollar/euro/pound/quetzal helps, so please give generously.

Plans for the upper floor
Plans for the bottom floor
(blank spaces are rooms not requiring work )

Any questions or for more information, please contact Quetzaltrekkers.

Sep 22, 2012

Life behind the scenes...

So you've done the treks (all of them? Woww - good for you!), bought the tshirt, the patch and come to our awesome parties (see posts below)... Want to know more about trek prep? Will watch his video below, made by ex-guide Frank (the Tank), to get an idea about life behind the scenes and what goes on to make these treks amazing treks happen! And don't you worry- there'll be more of these videos to come.

Like what you see? Whetted your appetite? Looking to get more involved? Check out our volunteer page to get some more info about volunteering with us!

Feb 27, 2012

Carnaval in Xela: Just Add Flour and Eggs...

Throughout Latin America, Carnival remains one of the most highly anticipated holidays of the year. Rooted in Catholic traditions, Carnaval precedes Ash Wednesday, the day beginning the Lent period of fasting and prayer. Though every Latin American country possesses its own unique Carnaval traditions, the holiday universally marks a day for festivities and partying.

So last week, all of us QT guides were amped for the opportunity to accompany the 15 Hogar Abierto children to the Carnaval celebrations in Xela. With a huge (though somewhat outdated) fair erected in the Parque Calvario, toddlers and teens parading throughout the city in costume, and street vendors peddling glitter and confetti, Carnaval promised to be an enjoyable cultural experience. Fun for the whole family, right?

Little did we realize the chaos that would ensue. Immediately upon entering the fair, we unsuspecting gringos were bombarded with a barrage of flour and raw eggs. Guatemalan teenagers from far and wide caught wind of our arrival and came sprinting for the opportunity to join in the assault. You see, in Guatemala, the eggs and flour are customary aspects of Carnaval. For days before the holiday, local youth amass small arsenals of the baking ingredients so that they might pelt their friends and siblings on Carnaval day. Kids attacked, we retaliated (or at least tried), more children arrived, and local spectators videotaped as our clothes transformed into mottled collages of white and yellow.

Overall, the evening was great fun. The Hogar kids were able to enjoy the rides and fair food, we guides got to experience Guatemalan traditions firsthand, and my hair was coated in raw eggs, which I've heard possess numerous benefits for hair health. Carnaval was at times chaotic, and perpetually messy, but we would not have missed it for the world.  

Feb 15, 2012

New Trek Alert: Rock Climbing at La Muela!

Well ok, it may not be a trek per say, but nonetheless the Quetzaltrekker guides and I are thrilled to reestablish the old favorite: rock climbing at La Muela. Located on the outskirts of Xela near Cerro Quemado, La Muela is a sacred lava field that attracts hundreds of Mayan pilgrims each year. One of the most well established climbing areas in Central America, the site not only offers stunning views of Xela, but also numerous routes for both novice and advanced climbers.

Trips are scheduled on demand and include food, transport, gear, and super sexy, experienced guides. QT clients pay 250Q, depart Casa Argentina around 9am, and can expect to return mid-afternoon. As always, 100% of the profits benefit the Escuela de la Calle (EDELAC) and the Hogar Abierto.

Right now, Quetzaltrekkers has 15 wonderful volunteer guides, a number significantly higher than the standard 8-10. Though this influx of guide can pose its challenges at times (15 people for 1 bathroom eek!), the large number also has its advantages. For one, cooking for 15 people forces each of us to evoke our inner Julia Child. Second, with more guides, we can offer more treks, and thus earn more profits for EDELAC and the Hogar. Finally, and most importantly, each guide brings something unique to the table. All passionate about Quetzaltrekkers’ mission, the guides all possess their own interests, expertise, and experiences. With this variety of skills, QT can now offer a more diverse selection of treks and activities, such as rock climbing.

So, if rock climbing tickles your fancy, or you want to come meet all the new guides, shoot us an email or call us! Better yet, come visit our office in the back of Casa Argentina! We’d love to see you! In the meantime, stay tuned for more information about QT guides, treks, and other deep thoughts.