Jaime founded the El Nahual project in 2005. Formely a philosophy teacher, he had always wanted to do something to help the kids of Pacajá (one of the poorest areas of Quetzaltenango). His idea was simple: to provide educational support to the children attending the public schools of the area. In 2005, with the help of his wife Betty, Jaime decided to quit his full time job and start El Nahual. He continues to work full-time at the school and dedicates a lot of time and effort to the program.
El Nahual´s vision of education for social development would be impossible without the generous contribution provided by a group of principally foreign volunteers who donate their time and effort to the various projects. We have a constant turnover of volunteers and can have as many as twenty people working together at any one time. Despite the difficult nature of seeing people who have contributed so greatly leave the project to pursue alternative personal paths, we are always amazed by the new volunteers that arrive to take their place!
We do rely on a number of more permanent positions to ensure the overall administration of the centre. Details of the current full-time staff and previous volunteers who have devoted vast amounts of time to the project can be viewed below.
Jillian took on the role of Volunteer Program Coordinator in June 2012 after studying Spanish and volunteering at El Nahual for 5 months. She will be the one who runs the volunteer meetings, schedules volunteer hours, and supports volunteers in writing lesson plans and teaching.
She has lived in Xela for 6 months without solid plans to leave. She is passionate about helping the local community and supporting volunteers in their projects.
Jenna took on the role of International Coordinator in June 2012. She is the one who will answer all of your pre-departure questions, process applications, and coordinate the activities in the Spanish School.
This is Jenna's second visit to Xela, and studied Spanish for several months before joining the El Nahual team.