2. What is the Highland Support Project? Highland Support Project (HSP) is a 501(c)(3), non-governmental organization and an Advance Special of the United Methodist Church. HSP promotes ongoing and lasting transformational development of Mayan communities in the Highlands of Guatemala. 3. What is Transformational Development?Transformational development is a practice based on the idea that poverty is a process or a cycle that can only be addressed through the changing of social, economic, political, and cultural systems. 4. What is Partners in Service? Partners in Service is a program of the Highland Support Project that provides North Americans with meaningful service and learning opportunities while delivering valuable resources to grassroots Guatemalan organizations. 5. What does Accompaniment mean for those serving? Accompaniment means Partners in Service: Provides technical assistance to community groups in planning, administration, and production. Provides networking services between rural organizations and international agencies. Organizes capacity building programs for regional organizations. 6. How is Highland Support Project different from other service groups? We have a long-term relationship with the communities in which we work. We work to maximize the benefits to grassroots organizations and individual families. We focus on efforts that support rather than compete with local initiatives. We develop resources and support systems that empower rather than foster dependency. 7. What are some Partners in Service projects?Stove BuildingReforestation Holistic HealthCross-Cultural Communication & Emergency ManagementMayan Arts Program 8. Why build stoves? They channel the thick smoke from cooking fires out of the home, thereby eliminating chronic upper respiratory infections, the primary cause of illness in the region. They decrease the amount of money women must spend on cooking fuel because they are significantly more fuel-efficient. They improve the environment by consuming less wood than open pit fires, thereby decreasing deforestation. They save women time and energy in food preparation so they can participate in womens circles. They channel resources directly to families in need making them agents of change. 9. Why is there a need for Reforestation?Decreasing deforestation is very important in improving the quality of drinking water, stabilizing weather patterns, maintaining topsoil, and combating erosion. The primary cause of fatality in recent natural catastrophes in Central America has been mudslides linked directly with deforestation by the ravenous demand for cooking fuel. Partners in Service focuses on reforesting areas of human occupation. 10. What is the Mayan Arts Program? Partners in Service volunteers partner with Mayan schoolteachers to stimulate the preservation of Mayan culture through the Mayan Arts Program (MAP). MAP is an ambulatory arts program organized through HSPs network of participating rural community organizations. Partners in Service volunteers are given the opportunity to introduce basic art concepts, including colors, shapes, and forms, to Mayan children. Special attention is given to the traditional themes and philosophies of the Mayan people to build cultural knowledge and pride. 11. What are HSPs other programs? 12. AMA (Highland Womens Association)AMA provides the following through womens small groups: Community Organizing Health Management Popular Education Economic Development 13. AlterNatives Our Richmond store, AlterNatives, provides North American consumers the ability to support Mayan women and children through thoughtful and socially-conscious shopping. HSP believe that markets must be based on mutually beneficial exchanges. HSP works to provide the artisans who create the products sold at AlterNatives with a just and bountiful existence; as well as provide the consumer with the highest quality creations that are produced and distributed from the heart. 14. What comes next?Planning Your Service Trip 15. What can be expected on a service trip with Highland Support Project?The following is a sample itinerary of a typical eight day service trip: Saturday: Arrive in Guatemala City on flight from the United States Drive to the village of Panajachel where team will spend the first night Visit famous Lake Atitlan which was formed by the ancient volcanoes that surround it In-country orientation and team meeting 16. Sample Itinerary (continued) Sunday: Boat trip across lake Atitlan- Visit All-natural Dye Cooperative and an Organic, ShadeGrown Coffee PlantationWednesday: Continue service project in partner community Relax at natural hot spring Meet with Mayan womens circle organizerThursday: Complete service project and celebrate with the Drive to the town of Quetzaltenango where team will be housed for the week in a retreat center Visit with a Mayan community activistcommunity Salsa Lesson in Quetzaltenango!! Friday: Visit Maya Ruins at Iximche Travel to the historic capital of Antigua Shopping and sightseeing in Antigua Saturday:Return flight to the United States Monday:Travel to partner community for service project orientation 17. Are there health or safety concerns to be considered? Inoculations. The standard tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations are suggested. Vaccinations for tropical diseases are NOT required because we are operating in the temperate highland area.Health. Your teams health should not be a problem if precautions are taken with drinking water, milk, uncooked vegetables, and peeled fruits.Safety. We take the following safety precautions: We do not travel after dark. We rent ordinary passenger vans with no markings. We limit travel to areas that fall within the golden triangle of tourism. We check the State Department travel advisories on a weekly basis. We maintain ongoing relations with local police departments. We hire licensed drivers who are approved by INGUAT to transport tourists. They are trained in CPR and first aid, and have working relations with regional security officials. 18. Where will we be staying? What will we be eating? Housing. Partners in Service teams typically stay in a retreat center called El Refugio. The rooming is double- to triple-occupancy with communal hallway bathrooms. There is hot water and the bedding is laundered, and laundry service is available for a small fee. There is also ample space for team meetings and recreation.Food. Teams staying in a retreat center enjoy two meals a day in a dining hall. The food is prepared in the retreat center kitchen by their full-time staff. Many organizations, both local and visiting, use these facilities and their health records are excellent, not to mention the food is delicious! Lunch will be eaten in the community where service project is being carried out. We can accommodate any dietary restrictions or preferences (i.e. vegetarians/vegans, gluten issues, lactose intolerance, etc.) 19. How much does a service trip with HSP cost? The cost is $1700 including airfare This price includes food, lodging, coordination costs, and excursions. The two expenses that are not included in this price are the cost of a passport and a $30 exit tax.Fair Trade Travel HSP practices fair trade with local service providers in order to positively contribute to our partner communities. It is our commitment to our service participants to keep our costs as low as possible to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to serve. HSP charges just enough per trip participant to cover our direct expenses of facilitating trips. 20. What devotional programming is available? Through its Transformational Ministries, Partners in Service helps trip participants explore the processes and issues of service in the developing world. HSP is pleased to work with team leaders to develop additional devotional material to suit your groups needs.
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