The Cost and Expectations of Volunteering in La Libertad

The Amazon Pueblo project is, and for the foreseeable future, a completely volunteer led and staffed organization. We strive to make it possible for people to volunteer in the village, sharing their skills, abilities, and lives with the community members. Through this sharing we hope to support the people of La Libertad to develop sustainable lifestyles. In turn, we hope to offer our volunteers a rewarding and genuine experience, one that past volunteers have described as life-changing, during their time in the village.

The project will provide to the volunteers:

  1. Clean housing, possibly shared with other volunteers
    1. Bunk bed
    2. Sleeping pad
    3. Two bed sheets
    4. Mosquito netting
    5. Table
    6. Bench

2.  A toilet
3.  A small solar shower and private shower stall
4.  A solar panel capable of supplying energy to a small electrical device (may be broken)
5.  A kitchen stocked with cookware
6.  Running water in the kitchen
7.  A four-burner gas stove
8.  A water filter (may be broken or stolen)
9.  English-teaching books and limited school materials
10. A contact and assistant person in the village (Gustavo Cadenas)

What the volunteers are responsible for (the project will NOT provide):

  1. Food
  2. Water if the project’s water filter is broken or has been stolen
  3. Transportation costs (plane tickets, boat tickets, gasoline/oil for Gustavo’s boat)
  4. Any additional materials or supplies that are needed beyond what has been mentioned

The monetary cost to the volunteers

When in the village Gustavo will be the volunteer’s main host. He will be taking care of the guest house, arranging and sometimes providing transportation, and meeting most of the needs of the volunteers. Gustavo is very poor and relies on income from his guide business.

The following includes ways in which volunteers typically give to Gustavo (or other villagers):

  1. Money whenever he uses his boat to take us places; gasoline/oil and time (between 5,000 and 40,000 pesos, depending on the length of the trip)
  2. Gustavo may be hired by the volunteers for his guide services. The price must be decided upon between Gustavo and the volunteer
  3. Buy and share food during some of the mealtimes (I always buy an extra 10 kilos of rice, and other staples, and bring it to Gustavo at the start of my visit)
  4. Buy handcrafts that are made by Gustavo’s family (I also personally buy at least 200,000 pesos of handcrafts from other families at the end of each trip)
  5. The volunteers have also employed people from the village to work on buildings for the project (last summer we gave over 1,200,000 pesos in wages), but this money came from the project, not from the volunteers directly

It is difficult to say exactly how much should be given. If much time is spent volunteering and working for the villagers (teaching English two times a day, teaching adults how to do business math, teaching and coordinating or developing an eco-tourism program, digging pits for toilets, setting up water collection tanks, etc.) then little money will be expected.

However, if a volunteer only volunteers for one hour a day and then “vacations” (reading books, lounging in the sun, fishing, drinking beer) for the remainder of the day, then the “volunteer” will be expected to pay 25,000 pesos per day (paid to Gustavo) for the use of the project’s resources.

If more detail/guidance is desired it is best to contact the director,, to set up a Skype telephone call.

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