We are pleased to have participated in theGeotourism
Challenge for Sustaining the Future of Destinations,
for the Maya Foundation In Laakeech A.C.
and Hacienda Chichen sustainable tourism mission and socio-cultural
vision. This unique project was sponsored by National Geographic and Ashoka's Changemakers.
Long before the "sustainable tourism" term began to catch momentum, or
even Geo-tourism as National Geographic's editor tagged the trend, the
owners have been practicing this ideal way of operating. Since early 1990s
this boutique hotel committed its vision to eco-cultural tourism or what we
know today as "sustainable tourism." Since then, Hacienda Chichen
eco-cultural mission helped owners and staff to work for excellent guest
services with ecologically sound green hotel practices; their vision
social awareness volunteer programs to support the local communities,
read more about the volunteers
that started this noble work.
YOU KNOW:Hacienda Chichen
is recognized as one of Mexico's true example of sustainable tourism?
Indeed, this boutique Spa-hotel actively does encourage travelers and
visitors to volunteer their time, knowledge, and job skills to
health care, social programs and educate Mayan young generations in Yucatan's rural areas.
A practice that we hope will become more popular among hoteliers and travel
businesses operating in Yucatan, Mexico, where Mayan communities continue to suffer lack
of proper social services including: good health care, higher education, green
awareness programs, and job related training opportunities.
Maya Foundation In Laakeech Starting Point:
Hoping to make a difference in the lives of rural Mayan children, the
Hacienda Chichen owners, staff, and friends officially found their civil
volunteer association: the Maya Foundation In Laakeech A.C. in 2007 (this Maya
word is pronounce: "In lak'ech" meaning: we are one). Mrs. Belisa Barbachano
donated a fine Mayan art boutique store to support
the civil volunteer programs, as well as profits from the Hacienda Chichen and
Yaxkin Spa. Today, these small businesses work hand in hand actively caring for the environment,
promoting social sustainable tourism, sponsoring volunteering programs,
and health care in rural Yucatan, Mexico. You are invited to
participate as a volunteer in this wonderful way of working together. Our goal
is to achieve a better future for all living beings, bringing hope, joy,
friendship and learning opportunities to hundred of Maya communities near
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico.
Travelers, and visitors
alike, enjoy participating in our Green volunteering and social
volunteer work programs supporting the growth and education
of the Mayan rural people as well as increasing an eco-friendly
awareness and understanding them. You can help us help the Mayan
communities with your gifts of love (such as old clothes, reading
glasses, multi-vitamins, and donations) even if you can not give of your
time. For those willing to spend a few weeks volunteering with the
MFIL's social work programs and workshops, we suggest you read our "Maya
Foundation In Laakeech Volunteers' Frequently Asked Questions" and
contact us via emailto start planning your free volunteer vacation abroad and arrival date
to Yucatan, Mexico.
Donating a Nutrition Fun Party to the
Maya Children through the Maya Foundation In Laakeech:
If you can
not spend two or more weeks as a "in-field" volunteer, then you may wish to
donate or sponsor a Nutrition Lunch Party at one of the many Maya children
community centers we cater in rural Maya villages near Chichen Itza,
budget as little as USD $280 or a bit more we can help you organize a
wonderful Lunch or Dinner Party for the children serving nutritional meals,
fresh fruit refreshments, and some joyful activities to bring big smiles to
over 65 children living in Student Housing Centers or you may wish to donate
a special Nutrition Cook Out Lunch in one of the rural schools we support.
send us an email to let us know you wish to sponsor such event and we
will be happy to help you organize it, purchase the groceries and do the
organization work of the event for you to come and enjoy it with the kids.
Challenge for Sustaining the Future of Destinations,
featuring our NGO Maya Foundation In Laakeech
and Hacienda Chichen sustainable tourism vision,
in the Geo-Challange Proyect sponsored by National Geographic and Ashoka's Changemakers.
Yucatan, Mexico, is a very fulfilling experience for those that wish to
share their time, knowledge, and skills with the Mayan rural people; you
can become a MFIL volunteer while staying a mist ancient Mayan temples
and enjoying Yucatan's eco-cultural wonders. Our abroad volunteer
programs are not a summer camp alternative, we do not have paid staff to
over-see or supervise volunteers while staying and working in our
Yucatan's social volunteer programs. If you are a responsible pro-active
adult wishing to join our
and support our social work
programs working in a rural Mayan community near Chichen Itza, Yucatan,
please contact us.
We will be happy to have you come and support our social mission
and sustainable tourism vision.
We offer great volunteering experiences to be a Volunteer in Yucatan, Mexico,
read our interview to Jim Conrad
about his personal experience as a volunteer
What to expect when volunteering as a Maya
Volunteer with the Maya Foundation In Laakeech:
MFIL VOLUNTEER "WEB
TEAM" OPPORTUNITIES: You can participate in our Web Volunteer Team
program from your own hometown anytime, all year round or as a temporary
volunteer dedicating a fixed period of time; your choice. We welcome
volunteers from the age of 17 and up to help us build a comprehensive and
supportive website, develop new pro-active blogs, answer inquiries and
emails from our readers, or write articles focus on ancient Maya
civilization information, Mayan people of today, Mayan culture and
traditions, or Mayan Regional ecology, eco-travel, sustainable ventures,
etc. If you wish to participate in this volunteer category, kindly email us
a brief note about the area of interest and Web volunteering you can help us
"ON-SITE" PROGRAMS' ACTIVE SEASON: If you wish to
participate in our volunteer Mayan communities' social work programs keep in
mind such "on-site volunteering" programs are active only from May 1st to
October 30th, each year. Mayan community "on site" volunteers are required
to make prior arrangement planning and confirmed status from our MFIL Board
of Directors. Please contact us via email to:
if you wish to participate in any of these volunteering abroad
ARRANGEMENTS: Upon acceptance to our Maya Foundation In
Laakeech (this Maya word is pronounce: "In lak'ech" meaning: we are one)
on-site Mayan community volunteer programs, you should make arrangements to arrive
through Q.Roo's Cancun International Airport or Yucatan's Merida
International Airport; both airports offer many international flights
although it is our experience that Cancun international flights are
price a bit lower than those arriving in Merida, Yucatan. Chichen
Itza, Piste, and Xcalacoop (the three main areas of our current
volunteer social work agenda) are within an hour and a half to two hours
away from both Cancun and Merida by ADO bus transportation (comfortable,
safe, and multi-price range fares are available to transport tourists to
Chichen Itza from any of the two above mentioned airports or cities).
The best Bus-line is
ADO which runs deluxe and first class busses to all
important tourist destinations throughout Mexico. Read our
Teaching Volunteers are expected to work out their own
transportation needs at arrival, departure and during their daily trips
from their Maya Hut "volunteer home" to the Mayan communities where they
will volunteer. Taxi services from the Hacienda (rooming) to their
volunteer work sites are inexpensive, about
35 pesos each way.
Check the ADO
transportation fares and schedules, ADO ranges from super deluxe to
less expensive bus services to comfortable second class bus fares.
has its own online ticket and bus stations; from Merida and
Cancun airport you can take a taxi to the ADO bus station. Check the ADO website
for times and routes offered "from and to" the site of your interest.
Cancun airport offers ADO shuttles to the ADO Station every 20 minutes
or so, for about $25 pesos (less than USD $2.00)
ACCOMMODATIONS: As a volunteer with
the Maya Foundation in Laakeech(this Maya word is pronounce: "In lak'ech" meaning: we are one)you
will be welcomed with friendly faces and become part of the MFIL volunteer team as
soon as you arrive to the Hacienda Chichen Resort, in Chichen Itza,
Yucatan, Mexico; where you will be accommodated this lovely volunteers'
Maya Hut (photo) a private spacious bungalow with large bathroom,
closet, hammocks, bed, ceiling fans, small refrigerator, etc.
Accomodations' Donation Policies:The Maya Hut
accommodation is donated free of charge by the Hacienda Chichen owners to
help all our MFIL volunteers to support to our social ventures. Teaching
Volunteers in our three weeks stay program, need to donate USD $260 to our
NGO to help keep up the hut supplies. Teaching. Four week stay
volunteers need give a cash gift of USD $290. All year round rooming available
only to our Friendship Club, former volunteers.
Volunteers may browse the Hacienda Chichen
Resort's own website www.haciendachichen.com and learn about the
wonderful Sustainable Tourism practices that this unique Green boutique hotel, one of Mexico's best
Eco-Spa Resorts in Yucatan, offers to its guests.
Volunteers participating in a two-week program are granted 20% discount
when ordering meals and beverages at the hotel
during their volunteer stay. The donated rooming facilities have a
small refrigerator to help volunteers keep cold produces for meals, sandwiches,
salads, milk, etc; produces
can be bought in Piste or Xcalacoop stores.
FREE LUNCH DAILY:
To MFIL Volunteers
participating in a four-week or longer stay helping with any of our
social programs, will be granted by the
Hacienda Chichen Resort a simple lunch meal free of charge daily, plus the 20%
discount in other meals and non- alcoholic beverages purchased at the hotel.
request for a small service fee. Volunteers staying over four weeks
will have the opportunity to use the hotel's laundry machines once a
week for small clothes quantities at no charge, details will be worked
INTERNET WIRELESS CONNECTION:
Available free to the
and to the Maya Foundation In Laakeech (this Maya word is pronounce: "In lak'ech" meaning: we are one) volunteers;
best signal is around the Hacienda Chichen Open terrace bar.
Volunteers are encourage to bring personal
laptops for comfortable Internet use and quick access.
arrival you will be greeted by Jose Tamay,
MFIL Local Social Work
Coordinator and/or Mrs. Beatriz Correa,
MFIL Board of Directors and
Yaxkin Spa co-owner, they will introduce you to the staff of the
Hacienda Chichen, including the owners Belisa and Bruce when they on
BASIC SPANISH REQUIRED: It may be quite daunting on your first day
especially if you don’t speak basic simple Spanish. Most of your
students at the Hacienda won’t speak English, some none at all and
others only the basics so it is a good idea to prepare yourself and your
lessons before you arrive at the Hacienda.
BASIC SCHEDULE: Volunteering for the Maya Foundation In Laakeech
(pronounce: In lakech)
programs in Yucatan, Mexico, allows your schedule to be very relaxed, as
is the Hacienda Chichen itself; you will be free to decide how much or
how little you do after you meet the basic required volunteer time per
day; but remember that you have chosen to volunteer and it is a
brilliant experience for you, if you put in the effort to be involved.
The more you put in, the more you will get out of it.
MFIL volunteer program in Yucatan, Mexico is offered with free rooming
and requires social work volunteers to stay at least two weeks.
Volunteers need to be at least 19 years old to participate in our Maya
Community social work programs, also are required to plan their own lessons, class materials, and workshop
sessions, which include teaching at least two daily classes at the hotel
(90 min. each) plus two community school classes at a public rural school.
If you want to participate in this sustainable social volunteer work,
please contact us.
The MFIL volunteer program with rooming and simple meals included
you to stay at least four weeks, plan your own lesson agenda, and give
at least two group daily classes at the hotel (90 min. each) and two
individual 90 min. classes to specific staff members; plus a community
school class (public elementary or mid-school students, 90 min. period).
Also, you are encouraged to support the on going volunteer web publicity
of the Maya Foundation In Laakeech to reach potential volunteer groups
via Internet; as a volunteer you may know of websites that will link
exchange with ours, volunteer directories online to place our
information, and other creative ways to increase awareness of our social
volunteer work online. If you wish to participate as a 4 or more weeks
volunteer, kindly contact us
and let us know the area of volunteer work you wish to help us.
Volunteer Teachers: During your stay you will
be the ‘maestro de Ingles’ or the English teacher which means you will
be in charge of creating your own lesson plans and organizing lesson
times in conjunction with Jose and the staff.
Your students will be
mainly the wait staff or ‘meseros’ at the Hacienda as well as the
children at the school in Xcalacoop, a neighboring Mayan community.
Other staff members at the Hacienda may also want to learn so it will be
up to you to arrange sessions with them. The females and males at the
Hacienda will generally have separate lessons and class times.
At the Xcalacoop Public School no-one will speak English, including the teachers
so you may want to arrange special private lessons for the school
teachers for them to teach and practice your lessons with the students
once you depart.
your ESL workshop lessons: Each volunteer
creates his or her own ESL lessons; workshops last the same amount of
days that the volunteer stays to teach; thus, no teacher is left with
another volunteers lesson plan. Keep in mind the students you will
be teaching have basic English or no English knowledge. The Hacienda
staff is eager to learn, so plan your lessons to be relevant to their
job, and create some fun pro-active lessons related to their job needs
to increase their conversational language skills and communicate better
with their clients.
school students require a more repetitive approach to learning, as they are
not surrounded by English all the time; therefore, they aren’t practicing
very often what has been taught to them, so be patient and help them
practice the lessons with class reviews. Teach them basic greetings,
numbers, colors, dates, family members, objects etc. It is up to you
exactly what you will teach and how you will present the information.
Be creative and have fun with the students because they are very receptive
and happy to learn. Plan to include the teacher in your lessons daily
program to help increase the over all performance of your school group's
to pack when volunteering as Maya Foundation In Laakeech Community Social
CREDIT CARD AND
MONEY: Volunteers should bring at least one major credit card in
case of need; bring small bills and exchange a few dollars prior to
arrival (at the airport or in your local bank) to get the best out of
your dollar when paying taxis and other services. A word of advice
regards to dress style, keep in mind that you will be visiting a
conservative and traditional community and short shorts or small summer
dresses are not really appropriate. Try to bring longer shorts, t-shirts
that are not revealing, pants and skirts so nobody feels uncomfortable.
Tennis shoes work well in all terrain areas. Bring a swim suit if you
care to use the hotel swimming pool, sun glasses, eco-friendly insect
repellant and sun block. Cotton and light weight fabrics work
check our webpage article. Yucatan is very safe, you will be among
friendly rural people that are very respectful and polite to tourists
and foreigners. Bring books, your IPod and music, laptop, alarm
clock and any other electric devise that you like to have for
entertainment (we run on 110v).
TEACHING MATERIAL: You will be preparing lessons as you go so
writing equipment is essential, a laptop is also very handy if
you have one, the Hacienda Chichen Resort provides free wireless
internet on the Terrace.
BEST: Create two
fun and active class/lesson session programs, each with a theme related to
hospitality workers and small children to use in your own ESL workshop.
It can be very beneficial to bring picture cards, objects, music, DVDs etc,
anything to help you get your lesson across, mainly for use at the school.
Bringing something relevant to your home country is also a great ice breaker
with the children and you can begin with an intro on where you are from as
they may not already know about your country. Old magazines with
pictures are a great way to teach your class group some fun practical words
while creating an English dictionary and posters!
Check with the school teachers how they wish to be helped in their school
English classes. First check if the teacher needs you to
reinforce any curriculum material, if so, kindly support them. Otherwise use
your own material.
dCreate your ESL class material using "hands-on and project based
activities." Be friendly and introduce yourself to the
students by creating a "Cultural Dialogue." Ask the students to teach you
phrases in Maya and Spanish then help them learn how it is say in English.
Ask them "how do you say "phrase such as "good job" "good day" etc. then you
say it in Maya or Spanish, then ask them to say the phrase in English.
This way, you will brake the "ice" and they will feel happy to share with
you the skills.
Speak slow and enunciate clearly each English word but don't over do
it. Students need to learn good communication skills and kindness, so do not
mock them or allow others to do so while they are trying the new words or
Be flexible and adaptable while maintaining your realistic expectations and
challenges. Give realistic amounts of time for completing a
task, adapt if the task is a bit too high of a challenge and support the
student to succeed. Permit drawings an verbal responses to help foster
positive interaction and learning.
Help students learn by acting out a task. Create some
audio-visual aid, for example: "acting out a daily task (asking directions
to the park, or bathroom.")
Correct errors with compassion. Don't allow students to make
fun or nasty comments when someone is trying to learn a word or phrase and
has difficulty. Help them correct their mispronunciations when the meaning
of the word changes, for example
chopping / shopping ship / sheep
share / chair.
Play Sports and Engage with the students special interests.
Everybody enjoys the interaction, the teachers and students will feel your
support and appreciate it by being more open to ask you questions and
improve their enunciation and vocabulary. Ask teachers if you can help
with s school event.
information, questions, and inquiries about volunteering opportunities
in Yucatan, Mexico, please
You can also refer your inquires to the Maya Foundation In Laakeech
(pronounced: In Lak'eck) volunteer Ms. Lahnee Thomas at
she will be pleased to help you understand and enjoy your volunteer time
at Chichen Itza and other Mayan communities in Yucatan, Mexico. You may
wish to read
her own experience as a Maya Foundation In Laakeech volunteer.
Since 2004, the Hacienda Chichen has sponsored manygreen
to support the Maya communities and rural families in Yucatan, Mexico. Since 2007, when the
Maya Foundation In Laakeech (pronounced: in lak'ech) was formally founded and Yucatan Adventure
online was created by our civil volunteer team who has since then organized
multiple free volunteer programs dedicated to the Maya communities welfare surrounding
the region of
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. Yucatan Adventure Eco-Travel Guide is part of
such volunteer social work.
All of our
Yucatan Mayan volunteer social programs and
social work commitments, workshops, etc. are sponsored by the
Hacienda Chichen Resort
Spa as part of their commitment to Sustainable Tourism and green practices in Yucatan. Our
sustaianble NGO the
Maya Foundation In Laakeech (in lak'ech) civil volunteer social work is gently carried out in an informal friendly manner by
local volunteers and volunteers from
abroad wishing to help the Maya Foundation In Laakeech (in lak'ech) achieve its
volunteer team vision and social work mission dedicated to the general welfare
Mayan people and to prevent support ecological
destructive activities prevailing among Yucatan's rural people, due to their
current lack of green practices and conservation awareness programs.
continue to engage in massive deforestation and illegal hunting of endangered species.
Water supply contamination is another environmental issue in urgent need to be
addressed. Yucatan's general ecological
damage is due to lack of proper farming practices and
education or green awareness. Mayan rural daily habits include solid waste
dumping, and other unhealthy habits that need to be re-educated with green
awareness volunteer programs and eco-friendly new practices, especially in the
region surrounding Chichen Itza.
In 2006, Maya Foundation In Lakech founders began to organize volunteer social
programs and green volunteering vacations geared to help the rural Mayans social
needs, education, health, and personal growth. Programs to train young Mayan
adults to find jobs and new economic opportunities started in 2004 with the
support of Hacienda Chichen owners, by 2007 the Maya Foundation In Laakeech
(Lakech) with the support of the
Hacienda Chichen began various
Since then, this green hotel's guests often participate by giving a few
weeks of their time to educate local natives in job related training
programs. These volunteer vocational workshops have been of great help to
young Mayan adults while offering fulfilling
volunteer experiences to our abroad volunteers who share freely
their skills and support to those Maya communities in need.
A NOTE ABOUT: "Our
Volunteer Program" We are more than grateful to the people that
have taken the time and care to volunteer their knowledge and expertise
of job-related skills necessary to
improve the life of many young adult Maya people. Our Yucatan ESL
volunteer programs have been truly successful this year; please read
some of our
volunteer's comments and experiences:
York). A dear friend of the Maya Foundation In Laakeech and a really
dedicated volunteer (ESL) English Teacher. She stay two weeks working
full time in our job-related ESL volunteer program, then she said goodbye with a
promise to return at least once a year.
She wrote: "I have been so
happy here teaching that I want to continue my classes and get everyone
to a place where they feel comfortable and confident in English, which
will be easy with enough time as all my young adult Maya students are so
smart and motivated."
Lahnee Thomas Name: Pablo Pavlovech Volunteer Program: ESL Teachers
Born in Australia, Lahnee
came with her fiancé Pablo Pavlovech to volunteer as ESL teachers and support the
Maya Foundation In Laakeech A.C. social volunteer programs during March
2009. They worked as ESL teachers and on various writing and photo shooting ideas
which they plan to publish in various
traveling magazines. They enjoy so much their volunteer experience and
living at the Hacienda Chichen for a few weeks, that both return to help us
again for an extra pair of weeks! now the couple is an active member duo
within the MFIL permanent
volunteer team! Thanks to both, our ESL teaching volunteer programs will
have a greater impact in children's lives.
Their enthusiasm and good
nature has won them many children's hearts and ours. Read her own
volunteer experience while teaching at Xcalacoop Elementary Public
School during this 2009 Spring
here. She and Pablo will be returning this summer and fall to
continue their volunteer and support. Their ideas and experience
has helped us developed a better volunteer brief information kit gear to
answer frequently asked questions to people that may wish to volunteer
sharing their skills and time in one of our Yucatan volunteering
programs. Pablo and Lahnee's volunteering time has contributed to the young Maya students
education and future welfare.
Following are a few of
Pablo's wonderful photographs of their ESL volunteer teaching
experience in Xcalacoop, Yucatan, Mexico:
volunteering abroad experience in Yucatan, Mexico
A personal note from
Maya Foundation In Laakeech's First Volunteer:
Daniela Masaro Volunteer Program: English as a Second Language (ESL)
was both honored and pleased to be the first Volunteer ESL Teacher
with the Maya Foundation In Laakeech this past June at Hacienda
Chichen. Upon arrival I was awed by the stunning beauty of the
grounds and was happy to learn firsthand how well managed the land
was by people who truly care for the environment.
My students, although shy at first, were very eager to learn. Not
only were they a pleasure to teach but they helped me practice my
Spanish and taught me a few Mayan words and phrases in return. The
entire staff at Hacienda Chichen was extremely welcoming and kind
and I was made to feel like part of a special extended family.
Belisa was so delightful and funny and I can't help but smile and
giggle to myself every time I think of her hilarious stories and
contagious laughter. I was left with beautiful memories and stories
of my own to share back home.
I am so grateful to Dona Beatriz and Dona Venancia for sharing their
knowledge of Mayan medicine with me. Learning about the local
medicinal plants and the traditional Mayan therapies from more than
just books was such a gift and I feel so blessed to have had this
opportunity. I was inspired and encouraged to continue my studies
and to deepen and expand my own holistic training and practice.
I can't wait to return to my new family and friends and to learn
about the exciting new developments the foundation is creating.
Volunteering in Yucatan, Mexico with the Maya Foundation In Laakeech
was a great way for me to share and learn about the Maya people as I
taught ESL classes. I
hope many more people will take advantage of this wonderful
opportunity and become a volunteer with the Maya Foundation In Laakeech which helps make a difference in the lives of so many,
including my own.
Since 2004, many green
volunteering programs have been sponsored by the Maya Foundation In
Laakeech (this Maya word is pronounce: "In lak'ech" meaning: we
Our civil volunteer team thanks the Hacienda Chichen Resort for its
dedicated efforts to support the Maya communities welfare in the
surrounding area of Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico.