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Bravo to our extraordinary team of "vintage volunteers"

Adopt-a-Village’s Maya Jaguar Campus was bustling with excitement last week when three self-described “back to the land vintage volunteers” arrived to lay the foundation for our new girls’ dormitory.

In early March, Gary Owens, 68, an active volunteer with Adopt-a-Village who lives in Willits, California, arrived in Guatemala with long-time friend and architect, Ken Smith, 74, of Sebastapol, California. Bill Riley, 82, from Roseburg, Oregon, a retired Airforce navigator joined the team. Riley has undertaken several Peace Corp service assignments in Guatemala during retirement.

The trio learned about the urgent need for housing for girls at Maya Jaguar several months ago. An Adopt-a-Village fundraising event held in Grants Pass, Oregon, late last fall, and two Oregon Rotary Clubs donations totaling $8,000, were critical to the project’s success.

Construction labor in this remote region of Guatemala is difficult to find. Thanks to the generosity of our skilled volunteer trio, the dream of a new dorm is fast becoming a reality. The volunteers completed the arduous trek to our mountaintop campus set in a distant corner of Guatemala, just 30 miles from the Mexican border, where they adjusted well to their rustic two-cot cabins, outdoor plumbing, and cold showers. In appreciation for their hard work, our staff ensured that the vintage volunteers were well cared for. The men have enjoyed feasting on a healthy diet that includes fresh eggs from the school’s organically-raised chickens, along with beans, rice, tortillas, and plenty of fresh produce from our organic gardens.

We are profoundly grateful to this team of extraordinary volunteers who have donated their time and talents to an important initiative that will increase female enrollment at Maya Jaguar, and provide housing for more than 20 impoverished Mayan girls.

Visit our website to learn how you can volunteer with Adopt-a-Village in either Guatemala or in the United States, or contact Frances Dixon at

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