I heard about Xela Aid from a friend I had taken a couple of Spanish classes with at UCLA. She said going on on of their trips (at the age of 82!) was one of the best experiences of her life. I took a two-week trip with Xela Aid to Guatemala this summer (July 2017) and had a fantastic experience. The other volunteers on the trip were of all ages and had in common a great spirit and desire to make the world a better place. Spending time with the beautiful people of San Martin Chiquito at the Xela Aid facilities was very inspiring. You can see the direct impact that Xela Aid has on their lives, providing education, healthcare and emotional support.
I recently joined Xela AID for a two week trip to Guatemala.
This was my first time traveling with a non profit organization.
It was an amazing experience and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in visiting a beautiful country with humble and kind people.
This is a great organization that strives to make a difference and succeeds.
I participated in a Xela AID trip earlier this summer with several colleagues. The trip was super organized and focused on providing help and resources to those in need through several camps( a physics camp, women's studies camp, ... ).It has been a life changing trip that has taught me to appreciate the little things in life and to always be thankful. I highly recommend Xela AID for anyone trying to gain a new perspective on life and make a positive difference in the world.
Xela Aid deserves the high remarks for an organization doing great things. This organization is focuses on making sustainable change both for the communities they work in and for the people who help make it possible. The immersion in the culture that Xela Aid is able to provide vastly stands out from others. I have been on other trips with organizations that are not as thoughtful as those who run Xela Aid. Anyone who is able to take a trip with these wonderful people will have an experience unmatchable and will not regret it.
Earlier this summer I participated in my first service trip with Xela AID. I attended this trip with several others from my college and it was truly life changing. Both the members of Xela AID and the people of San Martin were so welcoming and loving. Xela AID not only made me realize the importance of service work, but the million reasons we have to be happy. While we were there I felt like I was truly making an impact on the lives of the people in that community, and they were also making an impact on me. Xela AID does such great work for so many amazing people and I hope I can go back in the next few years to keep making a difference!
I have worked with Xela Aid on three different trips over the past four years, first as a volunteer, and now as trip leader with my husband. I can honestly say that I've never worked with an organization so committed to partnering with people to identify and achieve their goals for their families and community. Xela Aid is committed to go beyond placement of a bandaid on a wound. They work with the community to figure out how to truly fix problems
and enhance the lives of those they serve.
Why do I keep coming back to San Martín Chiquito? As a returning volunteer, I have come to love the families we serve as we develop friendships born out of working together to meet common goals and bring dreams to reality. I have worked in other countries on multiple trips, but I can honestly say, "Guatemala has my heart."
Come and join us!
I have just returned from my August 2016 trip to San Martin Chiquito with Xela Aid. I have travelled to Guatemala many times since 1993 to work with this amazing Humanitarian group. We did many projects at our beautiful clinic and held a near vision clinic as well as distributing sunglasses to protect the eyes of these agricultural workers. Xela Aid is a totally transparent non profit where partnership to help the Guatemalan Mayan people is their goal. I always return in awe of what a little help can do for so many people. We always receive much more than we give. If you want to volunteer with a group in a third world setting you should find out more about Xela Aid.
I have just returned from an amazing trip working in Guatemala with Xela Aid. I have been before, in fact many times, but every trip brings new satisfaction in seeing how this group has expanded their horizons and included extra projects that have literally changed the lives of the people living in San Martine Chiquito. This trip I taught some of the women to make candy and cookies that they might be able to sell to earn some money. It was so much fun to share their kitchen, their experiences, and their great sense of humour and friendship. I was also able to dispense reading glasses to about 50 people who needed single vision readers to enable them to continue to sew, weave, or read. It's a privilege to be a part of Xela Aid and to make a difference in the lives of those we work with. It has definitely changed my life.
Xela AID 06/27/2014
Dear Colleen, The women of the village are still talking about your baking workshop, and want to know when you will be back to teach them new recipes. Their only complaint was that they would have liked to have another WEEK with you! Perhaps this can be arranged in the near future. Thank you for your many years of loving participation in Xela AID service projects, and as a member of our Board. Warmly, Leslie Baer Dinkel Executive Director Xela AID
My family and I have just returned from our third volunteer trip with Xela-Aid in Guatemala. I cannot say enough about the quality of this organization, how well executed the trips are and the difference this non-profit makes in the lives of their recipients and volunteeers. Our group performed handyman work on the clinic, trained Mayan women in cooking techniques, taught English, shared art projects, installed clean water, taught hair cutting skills, shared knitting - there was something for everyone. We received much more than we came to share.
Xela-aid provides a great introduction to the culture and meaningful volunteer opportunities. They are an organization full of integrity and one you can trust.
We will be back!
My husband, two daughters and I participated in the August 2015 Xela-Aid trip. The experience has forever changed our perspective of wealth, and we are deeply grateful to both the American and Guatemalan Xela staff members. The volunteer trip provided a perfect balance of cultural immersion and service work. Leslie and staff carefully blended our talents and interests with the needs of the community in San Martin Chiquito. We went to share our talents and received far more in return. Each of us has been inspired in our own ways to carry the experience forward.; and as a family, we chose to sponsor a young woman through her university days.
Xela-Aid’s model of developing self-reliance is healthy, not simply a hand out, and develops giving and receiving. It is inspiring to see the recipients of Xela-Aid paying it forward and giving back to their Guatemalan community.
I was proud to be a part of creating healthy self-reliance within an organization full of integrity. I can wholeheartedly recommend Xela-Aid to anyone yearning to make a difference.
An unexpected bonus was spending the week with other like-minded volunteers and bonding as a group. The friendships we formed are invaluable treasures. Xela-Aid is truly an experience we can’t wait to repeat.
Just returned from a wonderful trip to Guatemala with Xela Aid. Participated in a clean water project, shoes for the kids, and new computers for students in college.
I honestly cannot think of a more worthy cause this XelaAID - I just returned from a two week trip with Xela AiD to Guatemala and saw first hand what they are doing there in San Martin. What is impressive is that they do not simply provide stuff-they teach self reliance through mediums such as a co-op store that sells the wares the women make, or the pre-school (guarderia) they assist with, the computer lab, the clinic, the mental health resources they are providing is amazing. I cannot say enough about this organization.
If you're looking for a worthy cause to become a part of, you found it in Xela AID.
I've never had an experience with a nonprofit the way I had with Xela AID. Everyone was so welcoming and generous. Traveling to a new place to help those less fortunate is very rewarding, but after seeing what this organization is doing, it's encouraged me to try and do more, not just for Xela AID, but for other organizations. Leslie, the founder, is the most generous, caring person I have ever met in my life. You can see how genuinely concerned she is with making Guatemala a better place and works so hard to do everything she can to achieve that. The impact this organization has on the people of San Martin and neighboring villages is amazing. People are so unaware of what's happening in these places and the help from Xela AID is so impactful. I had the time of my life volunteering with them and would absolutely do it again.
Volunteering with Xela Aid was amazing! They have all kinds of programs that you can choose from and they are very flexible if you want to change to another program. It really was a life changing experience because not only do you volunteer, but you also get to know everyone. You end up becoming a family and make bonds that will change your world. The leaders of our trip did an amazing job at immersing us into Guatemalan life and culture. One thing they did was assign us a buddy and we got to eat lunch at their home, so we were able to see how they live and connect with them on a deeper level. The leaders are what really made this trip for me, they were very kind and generous, it was all worth it!
I recently returned from a great trip to Guatemala with a group of volunteers for the non-profit organization, Xela AID. The trip was wonderful in so many different ways. The projects involved working in the village of Mayan indigent people in the highlands area. These were so meaningful and well planned out. The people in the village were so warm, and appreciative that the whole experience will be remembered and treasured for the rest of my years.
Xela AID is an amazing organization. I would encourage all to support it any way possible.
I had an amazing trip with Xela AID. It is always hard to put down on paper all of the emotions and feelings one has when describing such a special trip. The opportunity for meaningful volunteer work imprints wonderful memories. The immediate connections with the kids and adults of the village will be a lasting impression that I will cherish for many years.
I loved traveling with such a caring group of volunteers and appreciate the organized excellent leadership.
Xela Aid deserves high marks for the positive effects of its presence in the community of San Martin, Guatemala. A long term commitment - by a group of dedicated individuals - has resulted in tangible and substantial improvements for the community in the areas of health, education and employment. The successes have been achieved by the combined efforts of the Xela Aid board, a devoted and capable full-time staff of local Guatemalans, partnerships with other NPOs, and organized groups of volunteers; with resources contributed by donors and grants. Xela Aid is focusing efforts and making progress toward its vision of a locally self-sufficient organization that can achieve long-term sustainability.
My experience as a volunteer was educational and enriching. The trip was was well-organized, active and enjoyable. The volunteers were eager and talented. While a single individual, volunteering for a short period of time, has a very small impact, many volunteers over many years can make a difference. Many volunteers over many years is Xela Aid’s strategy for the volunteer component of this remarkable organization.
I recently returned from my first visit to Guatemala as a Xela AID volunteer. The experience was incredibly heartwarming. The impact this organization has had on the village of St Martin over the years, and what they have been able to accomplish is impressive. I felt my time there was well spent, and I left with a connection to the people in the village and my fellow volunteers; a group of friendly, hard working folks with variety of expertise. Everything you do in Guatemala is greatly appreciated.
The trip was well organized, and I can highly recommend both the organization and the service trips offered by Xela AID.
Xela Aid is full of wonderful people, both stateside and in Guatemala. The leaders of our trip did an amazing job of utilizing each volunteer's talents and bringing the group together in meaningful ways. The staff in Guatemala are warm, welcoming, talented, and passionate. Overall, the trip was a great balance of relaxing/enjoying all that Guatemala has to offer and working on projects in San Martin. I highly recommend!
San Martin Chiquita is a village surrounded by small plots of terraced fields on the steep hillsides. The population is Mayan and many still wear the traditional hand woven clothing which reveal their innate love of color and pattern. There is small store in which the hand woven items can be purchased. Also there is a clinic, which was transformed into an optometrist clinic when I visited with the efficient VOSH team and their translators. Eventually they examined almost 500 people. I was teaching English to a group and one of my students was examined, returned with his glasses and wore them to read his assignment.
At the same time they initiated the use of new kitchen to provide lunch for the team, orchestrated by restaurant owners who taught the Mayan cooks the ins and outs of a modern kitchen. However, they made their tortillas by hand and served traditional Mayan food.
Everywhere in the village there was evidence of the many years of efforts made to change lives. I volunteered in the local school teaching English. The last day I taught there all the students and teachers were clearing the rooms to be painted by paint donated by Xela Aid. Soon they will introduce clean water systems to all the schools in the district.
I left energized and evolved. I would recommend Xela Aid as volunteer experience. It was my first volunteer experience and I will return to this little village where my enthusiastic students of English stole my heart.
What makes Xela AID and its trips an incredible, unforgettable experience is the people. The groups that they manage to put together are full of fun, interesting, and driven individuals who all bring something unique and exceptional to the team. Likewise, when you get to San Martin, the local Guatemalan staff are a group of all-stars doing amazing work and who are so eager to connect and share. My trip down to Guatemala was an unforgettable mix of fun adventures and truly meaningful, impactful work where I felt I grew personally as much as I helped locally.
Xela AID turns standard volunteer work into an unforgettable adventure. They do a great job at mixing business with pleasure. From being a tourist on the cobblestone streets of Antiqua, to the breathtaking views atop the Pacaya volcano, to working with the Mayan people in the small village of San Martín Chiquito, getting involved with Xela AID is guaranteed to enrich your life and the lives of others.
I have gone with Xela Aid 3 times. I love the trip, the people and the great structure in San Martin Chiquito. The Mayan group in San Martin are the most welcoming, loving people I have ever met.
Xela Aid is a first class operation with a great mission.