Book now to reserve your spot on Ashley Allen and Humza Shamsuddin’s bottle school trip: June 19-25th, 2014

After a conversation with a new found friend on the deck of a Bahamas cruise, I committed to my first Voluntourism trip. I had no idea what to expect when I signed up. I just knew that I have always wanted to do something like this, and I went by myself. From the moment I walked out of the airport in Guatemala, I knew this would change my life forever. The first day we went to the school at Xesuj, we were greeted with children lined up at the gate each holding a bouquet of flowers. From that moment on, I realized that instead of me being a blessing to this school and community, they would be a blessing to me.

I have never worked as hard nor sweated as hard as I did that week, but every single moment was worth it. We mixed concrete, tied rebarb, danced, played soccer and basketball, and anything else the kids wanted to do. I realized that American children expect way too much. The children at Xesuj worked alongside the adults without being asked or told. We also visited a finished school at Pachay. I was amazed to see the support the school gave us even a year after the school had been completed.

I don’t think I have just one memorable moment that I can share because everything we did was memorable! My group was amazing to work with, especially since I didn’t know a single person when I booked this trip. To sum it up, this trip was by far the best thing I have ever done in my life. I cannot wait to get back and see Gerson, Zohe, and the kids from Xesuj!

– Ashley Allen

Words simply cannot convey the magnitude of the experience I had during my first Voluntourism trip in June 2013. I always told myself “Someday I will do a Voluntourism trip.” After attending a Bottle School fundraiser, I decided that there was no better time than the present to make this dream a reality.

From the very beginning when I arrived in Guatemala, the Hug It Forward team made us feel at home in a country so far from home. The education they provided us about the country, the community, and the individual families really enriched the quality of this trip. I came into this trip expecting to help build a school. By the second day, I had the hard realization that this was more than just building a school. This trip was not about what I was contributing to Guatemala, but instead what Guatemala was contributing to me.

My life was touched in so many ways. Just seeing the enthusiasm shown by the children and community members was inspiring. The hospitality and desire to share shown by everyone was absolutely wonderful. Despite lacking the luxuries many Americans have, we were shown the joy they share with what they do have. Prior to boarding the bus to the leave the school, I was approached by a young girl. She gave me the biggest hug and asked, “Will you return tomorrow?” That being our last day in the community, I replied “No.” Simply answering that question moved me so much, in that moment I made the commitment to her and told her “This is not good bye. I will see you soon.” The smile that followed just reaffirmed this commitment. Within a month of returning, Ashley and I followed through with that commitment and applied to lead this trip in June 2014. I cannot wait to see you in Guatemala in 2014!

– Humza Shamsuddin


A slideshow of our bottle school trip in June 2013

Some pictures from our bottle school trip in June 2013

Ashley and Humza on the worksite Mayan Ruins visit Humza with the kids


How kids and communities build bottle schools

Ashley with the kids Community member playing guitar



Want to know more?

Visit the Hug It Forward web site to find out all about bottle schools.

Information about your trip

Please make sure you read all the information on this web site, including the Information section and the FAQ.

Book now on the Rovia DreamTrips website

Book today to reserve your spot on my bottle school trip from June 19 to June 25, 2014.

Your spot on the bottle school trip costs $994.99 per person for Rovia members. What does this include?

Please make sure you have read the Terms and Conditions before booking.

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How to pay for your trip

You can reserve your spot on the bottle school trip by booking today via the Rovia DreamTrips web site.

If you are not a DreamTrips member, please talk to the person who invited you on this trip to find out how to join.

Please read the Terms and Conditions!

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Fundraising for bottle schools

You might also like to fundraise for Hug It Forward bottle schools. Fundraising for bottle schools is optional – it is not a requirement of participating in a bottle school trip.

If you choose to fundraise, we suggest a $250 fundraising goal, but some people choose to do more or less than this. It’s really up to you – how much you think your friends and families can give, how creative you can be, and how much time you’re prepared to put into it.

See more information about fundraising.