Carolina is a long-time resident of San Andrés, Guatemala and has had a love for the town and the people for nearly as long as she’s been there. “It’s a calm town, and the people are calm as well. A beautiful thing about San Andres is that anyone you approach will happily greet you.” Since 2020, she has been motivated by this love to be actively involved as a volunteer for a Utah based nonprofit, Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours. While her duties range from food preparation, clean-up, and team management, one thing that remains consistent is her mission: serving healthy meals to children in desperate need, and seeking out those in need of this service.
When she is not volunteering with Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours, Carolina works two other jobs to help provide for her family. Beginning at 7:30am every morning she manages a small store which she runs until 10:00pm. By 11:00am she begins her time at the “tortillería”, where she makes tortillas and prepares them to sell for much of the remaining day. The people of her town work a variety of jobs, and she remarked that many farm avocados and corn. It is also not uncommon to see chickens being raised within the walls of homes.
Her limited free time often falls on Sunday afternoons, thus allowing Carolina to walk to church with her husband and 5-year-old son, Jassper Joaquin, who is one of the 24 children who has the financial support of a sponsor through Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours. Walking around San Andrés is a favorite pastime for her and her husband, and they particularly enjoy passing by the city park where women sell a variety of treats and snacks on certain afternoons.
Carolina is passionate about family, which motivates her in pursuing the expansion of this program. While Jassper is able to receive meals and participate in the preschool provided by Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours, she remarked that “it’s for families who live in extreme poverty.” Her time volunteering has opened her eyes to the severe need in the community for nutritious meals such as those provided by the program. “There are families who really need this program,” she stated. For her, it is about much more than food. “The educational part [of the program] is wonderful,” she expressed. Her son has been able to start learning English thanks to the volunteer preschool teacher Linda, which has been empowering for both of them. Mom’s are also taught valuable lessons like dental hygiene, family planning and healthy eating habits during their monthly Parent Education classes.
Carolina hopes for a bright future for her family, her community, and this program. She is optimistic about the progress in all three of these areas as she recognizes the growth which has already taken place. Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours is currently providing several thousand nutritious meals a month to individuals that otherwise would not be eating, and entire families have been given a greater ability to create their own futures. As part of this initiative, Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours is in the process of constructing a sewing center for mothers to earn an income for their families while also learning how to make quality goods. If you would like to donate to this fundraiser, a link will be provided below.
One day, Carolina hopes to see the program become accessible to all of those who need it most, and supported by all of her neighbors and community members. There is much to do until that day comes, but thanks to people like her, every day brings us a little closer.
If you would like to donate to the sewing center fundraiser, here is the link:
If you would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer, sponsoring a child or becoming a donor please reach out to the Founder, Tobie Spears @ firstname.lastname@example.org
* Interview was conducted entirely in Spanish. Carolina’s quotes and insights were directly translated, but may not be precisely exact due to the nature of translation.