Project Vuelta Grande
La Guatemala Real
Vuelta Grande is a small rural community located in the mountains outside of Antigua. Although it is isolated and shares no resemblance with the colonial city, this indigenous village, with a population of approx 1,300 inhabitants, is considered part of the municipality of Antigua. The means of survival are based on agriculture, with the cultivation of flowers being one of the main sources of income for families who sell them at the capital’s market. Most families survive on less than $4.00 (Q32.00) a day. They are families in great need.
In 2008, Vuelta Grande started receiving help thanks to La Unión Spanish School and Young Dreamer Network. Later that year, Young Dreamer Network sponsored kids providing them the opportunity to access quality secondary education. Each year since then, promising kids were selected to receive scholarships. La Unión has played a key role coordinating the program and ensuring a consistent presence locally. In 2013, the first scholarship recipients obtained their professional degree. Ivan, who recently graduated in accounting, and Jaime, who is currently studying to be a chef, both received an opportunity for self-realization through the program and are now becoming true community leaders. The presence of, and their long relationship with, La Unión helped create the support network for these young leaders to achieve their initiatives.
From this collaboration, five projects aimed at developing Vuelta Grande were born…
ECO-TOUR LA GUATEMALA REAL
The eco-tour to the community of Vuelta Grande aims to raise awareness about the reality of this small village, and more importantly, about the conditions of most indigenous rural areas. The tour is given by a local guide knowledgeable about the history, life style, means of survival, and socio-economic conditions of Vuelta Grande. During the tour, it is possible to absorb nature, visit a local household, learn how to make tortillas, and enjoy a tasty traditional meal.
RESTAURANTE GUATEMALA REAL
Guatemala Real restaurant's objective is to promote typical Guatemalan cuisine and generate income for the community. With the kitchen headed by the first local chef, it provides not only an authentic Guatemalan cuisine, but also serves as a central point of pride for the village. Moreover, Vuelta Grande's natural riches are sustainably exploited to provide for the restaurant's food and ornaments. The restaurant opens every Sunday morning offering a delicious brunch to enjoy while admiring the spectacular view from the heights of Vuelta Grade. Guatemala Real restaurant is striving to become one of the gastronomic destinations most sought in Antigua's region.
COMPUTACIÓN: UNA EXPERIENCIA REAL
Like most isolated rural communities in the developing world, Vuelta Grande lacks access to technology. This deprivation represents many missed opportunities in today's society where technologies are significant tools of information and communication. The first computer lab in Vuelta Grande will be located in the village's elementary school where the kids will also receive computer training. This new generation will therefore be qualified to take advantage of what new technologies have to offer.
CONSTRUYENDO LA GUATEMALA REAL
The first step to building a better future for Vuelta Grande is to improve housing conditions. Most households in the village have dirt floor, cardboard or wooden planks walls, and tin roof. These poor housing conditions are associated with unsanitary food, inadequate personal hygiene, vulnerability to weather, and bad air quality, which in turn all have a negative impact on health. Volunteer groups can make a great difference by providing construction materials and building a room, a kitchen, or a floor for a family in need.
LA VIDA REAL
"La vida real" is based on the idea that there is nothing like experiencing something in order to understand it. Living the real Guatemala signifies leaving behind one's comfort to stay among a local family for a weekend. From one's own stance, it is possible to take a glance at a very distinct reality. Families welcome their guests with pride, integrating them in their daily activities, sharing their culture, and making them feel a part of their household. All the host families were appropriately trained with respect to hygiene, safety, and interculturalism. This enriching experience is a genuine cross-cultural encounter with all the challenges and apprenticeships involved.
The five projects previously mentioned are initiatives from the community of Vuelta Grande that benefit from the support of La Unión Spanish School.
For more information:
- 1a Avenida Sur #21
- La Antigua Guatemala
- +(502) 7832-7337