The most important aspect of volunteering is to open hearts and minds to the lives of those living in the communities we serve.  Volunteers will learn about developing world poverty and its effects, understand microeconomics of garbage dump poverty, and work hand in hand with the local community.  Many volunteers feel that they receive much more than they are able to give when working with the communities we serve.  


“Throughout this week I’ve had the opportunity to see pure joy in the faces of children and families that don’t have much materially in the world. Not only did we tangibly help them build a house, but it also meant so much to them that we traveled so far. This trip made me realize how fulfilling helping others is.”  – Rob, University of Michigan Ross School of Business Volunteer

Guatemala Service Sites

Site #1: Zone 3, Guatemala City
Zone 3 is our original site in Guatemala City that we have been working in since 1995. Volunteers have helped at the Santa Clara Nursery, Francisco Coll School and other local schools with construction projects, playing with the kids and teaching English.
Site #2: Chinautla
International Samaritan has been working in Chinautla since 2013 and to date we have built an addition to the local school, a house, ecostoves and multiple bathrooms for families.
Site #3: Escuintla
Escuintla is one of our newest sites and we have been partnering with the San Gabriel School to build classrooms, and teach English to and play with the students.

Nicaragua Service Sites

Site #1: Ciudad Sandino
Located in the capital Managua, in Ciudad Sandino we partner with schools to build libraries and gardens, teach English, and spend time playing with the kids.
Site #2: Granada
In Granada, we work to build many homes hand in hand with families whose mothers work in the La Joya garbage dump. Volunteers have the opportunity to learn about the local community and families throughout the entire experience.
Site #3: Esteli
Esteli is our newest site in Nicaragua. Volunteers work at the local school near the garbage dump building classrooms. Volunteers will help in the classroom, and fulfill other needs in the community.

Paraguay Service Sites

Site #1: Asunción:
Asunción is our newest site and International Samaritan is excited to begin a partnership with the Recycled Orchestra. Volunteers will build safe homes that are not prone to flooding for the musicians and their families.

Asunción, Paraguay is the home to the internationally recognized Recycled Orchestra in the documentary “Landfillharmonic”. The orchestra is composed of 300 musicians aged 13-30 and all instruments are made from materials from the garbage dump.


Do I have to be of a particular faith to be part of a Service Immersion Experience?
Volunteers of all faiths are all welcome. Our service-learning immersion experiences are conducted in the spirit of the Good Samaritan, representing the universal humanitarian characteristic of helping one’s neighbor.
It is safe to travel to these countries?
In the countries where we serve, we have established favorable relationships with local authorities and local communities who have become our friends, some for more than two decades. Together, we foster a safe environment for service.
I am not a Spanish speaker. Will that be a problem?
No. Whether fluent in Spanish or not, all volunteers make an impact.
What exposure will I have with the local culture?
During your service immersion, you will have an opportunity to form relationships with the people in the community through your service projects, site visits to garbage dumps, and excursions to cultural and historical sites.
How old must you be before you can volunteer for the trip?
Age is not a barrier. Families, with children as young as eight, active retirees, and many with ages in between have participated. Frequently, high school and college students and health professionals travel in groups to assist us in making a difference.
Do I have to be a health professional to go on a medical mission?

Medical mission trips focus on providing critical health and dental care to people living in garbage dump communities. Health professionals are highly encouraged to sign up.  Volunteers with no medical background are needed to provide assistance with patient intake, patient data, assisting doctors and dentists, managing the pharmacy.

How do I know my efforts are making a difference?

International Samaritan provides volunteers with tangible service projects that further our programs and serve with members of impoverished communities for years to come. This includes building homes, classrooms, libraries, medical centers, and nurseries, and providing medical help during our medical missions.

Do I need a passport and visa to travel?
A valid passport is required to travel internationally. Most countries mandate passports be valid for at least six months past departure dates. Visas are obtained at airports upon arrival in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. A trip coordinator will provide instructions after you register for your service trip. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please research additional requirements to enter each country.
Do I need immunizations?
For current immunization country-specific recommendations, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov/travel. Consult your medical doctor or local health department for guidance based on your health history.
Will my health insurance cover me in another country?

Consult your medical insurance company prior to traveling to confirm whether your policy applies in a foreign country. If your policy does not cover emergency expenses, such as medical evacuation, we urge you to consider the purchase of temporary travel insurance. For further information on travel insurance, contact a travel insurance representative or company.

Where can I get more information?

Read about our travelers’ experiences on our blog to familiarize yourself with our work at intsam.org/news/, or you can call to talk to an International Samaritan trip coordinator to learn more at 734.222.0701. Our office hours are MondayFriday9am-5pm Eastern Time Zone. We look forward to hearing from you.

For additional questions, email us here or call us at 734.222.0701