I finally have some time and a decent internet connection to tell you about our time last week at Casa Guatemala. It's an orphanage to about 120 kids as well as a school to about an additional 130 kids from the local community. They range in age from about 3 to 14 years old and the school is preschool to 6th grade.

We stayed at Hotel Backpackers whose profits go toward helping Casa Guatemala, the orphanage. We took a 20 minute boat ride every morning at 7:30am to the orphanage and returned in the afternoon around 4:30pm. However, our first three days there we were terribly sick. Worse than in Mexico City. Auston didn't go to the orphanage at all the first day and I had to leave early. It lasted quite a while, but we managed to feel better midweek.

While at Casa Guatemala, we were in charge of the biblioteca (library) for the week. Truly, we had no idea what we were doing. By the end of the first day, the kids had destroyed the place. Desks knocked over. Books strewn about. They climbed the shelves, tables, and I think some of them may have had spiderman like abilities to climb the ceiling. It was chaos. And we had zero control.

So the next day we decided to have a plan of action. We had come up with book centers where they could read about particular topics and had games planned as a back up, like “Simon Says” and Pictionary. We also spent another day having the students read short stories aloud and then we quizzed them on the aspects of the story. So by the end of the week, we had figured it out a little and regained some control of the chaos.

It was actually a lot of fun (though very exhausting). I have to give credit to the long term volunteers (who are there any time from 3 months to 1+ year) who live there with the kids. They take care of them during the night, wake up with them every morning (as early as 5:30am), get them ready for the day and then get them to bed every night around 7pm. Their free time is during the day while the kids are in class with the teachers. Short term volunteers like Auston and myself help out during the day while the long term volunteers are resting and taking a break. Then we stay at Hotel Backpackers at night (thankfully away from the kids).

It was an incredible experience. The kids grow on you so fast. Part of me wanted to stay longer. But I just don't think I have that kind of patience. And I know Auston doesn't. It really takes a special person to be able to work there long term. It was definitely a pleasure to meet the other volunteers and listen to their experiences. They love what they're doing and are having fun amid all their hard work.

Oh yea, it was also sooooo hot there! The humidity is just nuts. Upon arriving in Belize last Sunday after leaving Guatemala, we immediately found a hotel with air conditioning. It was an absolute must. I like to think we were enjoying it on behalf of all the other volunteers!

Here's a video with some clips of our time at Casa Guatemala.

You can also check out the photos here…

19 Comments on “Casa Guatemala Orphanage Pictures & Video”

  1. DAD says:

    Guys. Good to hear your having an adventurous visit to Casa Guatemala. Sorry to hear about getting sick. Remember to boil your drinking water and drink only purified water. Don’t eat any lettuce. Go back to a pharmacy if you need to and buy some antibiotics and take a little at a time. Auston, read your facebook. Memere Garza is ill.

    1. davidsbrown says:

      Thanks for the tips. Auston when to a clinic last week and got some meds. He’s feeling much better. Just left Mexico this morning. So hopefully no more getting sick!

  2. Aunt Margie says:

    Okay – now I’m feeling paranoid for possibly giving out the wrong link. Although it offered Pay Pal and seemed fine as I went through it I don’t want to be responsible if anything goes wrong. Will you confirm website is correct? Age+technology=paranoia (at least in my case, sorry Sistas).

    1. davidsbrown says:

      Yea! That’s the right link. We paid through their PayPal account too without any problems. So you can trust the site. Thanks so much for donating! They really are a great organization and I told them I’d try to put their name out there any way I can. I linked their site to the volunteer section of the blog. I probably should’ve included it in my post too. I’ll be sure to do that next time. Miss and love you!

  3. Kate Maloney says:

    Wow! Not a quiet library!! Lol. I liked when you were yelling “Silencio” and “Escucha” all authoritatively when clearly the little ones run that place… Simon dice was so cute! I can definitely see how the volunteers need a lot of patience. Very cool volunteering!

    1. davidsbrown says:

      It was definitely a great experience. And the kids were great, just have a lot of energy!

  4. You guys were sooooo great!! Thank you so much for coming to work with us! Andrea is so busted! We’ll be having a talk tomorrow :) But the difference from the state the Library was in the first day compared to your last day speaks volumes to your amazing efforts! Good luck with the rest of your trip! :)
    And thanks Aunt Margie for your donation!!

    1. davidsbrown says:

      Thanks Heather! We had a great time. Hope you’re getting more volunteers!

  5. PS: Here is our facebook group for past, present and future volunteers! Please join! https://www.facebook.com/groups/404061166286752/
    Our page for anyone else is http://www.facebook.com/casaguatemalaONG

  6. grzecka says:

    I would’ve thought your nephews and niece prepared you better for this experience. They’ve clearly failed. Children must be kept busy. When left to their own devices…well, they sit on book shelves and cut up books. My three are going to seem like angels when you return.

    1. davidsbrown says:

      Yea, I really thought I could handle any kid after being around the Grzecka children. But I was just no match for this group. They’re crafty! Figured out the “keep them busy” trick eventually though.

  7. Carly Hopkins says:

    Oh my gosh! This video is so precious…I want more. I especially like the part where you guys are like..”we are bad teachers….ooops”. Haha I was laughing my butt off. I am so proud of you guys, your Spanish is great and it is helping me stay motivated in Med Spanish right now…so thanks. :) I miss you both and hope you stay healthy the rest of your trip. Love you guys.

    PS..I love Adam/Tasia’s comment from above. Haha

    1. davidsbrown says:

      Thanks! Yea, keep up with your med spanish. Even just a few phrases can be super helpful! We’re definitely staying healthy now that we’re in France. At least we don’t have to fear the water. Miss you!

Leave a Reply