The Volunteer Program is well known in Na Bolom. Since the time of Gertrude Duby, the number of foreigners and Mexicans who have paraded around the house performing service, volunteer or work as artists in residence could be translated into a list of several hundred, some remember that time as memorable and the vast majority of them If they were not already successful professionals in their work area, now they are. We have even had the pleasure of receiving even the children of those who in their youth were volunteers in the Association.
This program is so important that Gertrude Duby in the constitution of the Civil Association in 1980, in the fourth clause of social object subsection (c) provided the following:
"Use the mentioned house as a place of residence for scholarship recipients who are interested in the study of the cultures of the State of Chiapas and other disciplines derived from anthropological sciences in our country."
In a second section with the clause number (xi) it mentions:
“Volunteer program; make it possible for students or people who know the work to continue it. Being able to originate from any part of the world regardless of race, creed or religion or nationality. ... This program is focused on sponsoring the exchange, cultural interaction and international housing, in order to seek better communication and understanding among the diversity of people, since this helps us to deepen our own knowledge. This program is designed solely and exclusively at a private and private level and no government help is needed. "
But more than entering into technical formalities of the constitutive act that governs the association, I would like to comment that the contribution of all those men and women who have made the house is seen through the years. One of the people who has almost all the current and memorable memories of those years ago is Doña Betty Mijangos, who tells us about the Chinese who came and gave the dragon jaguar hanging for so many years in the dining room (photo 1) that they said goodbye to a show in the central courtyard, or the artists who wove the Palenque lintel tapestry placed in the dining room for six years, or the volunteer who embroidered a wool coat for Trudy and is now part of the clothing collection or how many more anonymous that now we do not have their names present who donated a photograph or painting that was written by some of the signs of the exhibitions. There are innumerable works and projects that these volunteers or artists in residence did and do for Na Bolom, how many of them have not been tour guides around the house or have painted a bench, placed a picture, arranged books in the library, worked in the nursery or garden, they watered pots like things from the newspaper, but they came with the intention of developing a project, supporting the Lacandón Medical Fund , doing research in the jungle, researching in the archive, publishing an article or making an exhibition in the cultural field in relation to the Mayan culture.
But as in everything we have the other side of the coin there is no one or the one who found out about the program and enjoy the benefits of having a free stay and food without having a true spirit of will to support the home or work and the we see tourists sitting in the dining room doing nothing, even better in their night room at a big party and worse being the block of discord inside and outside the house. That is why in order to be a volunteer or artist in residence, the applicant must fill out an application stating the project in which they want to collaborate, in addition to paying a symbolic amount for their stay and complying with the hours agreed upon at the time of the application.
Being a volunteer or artist in residence in a place like Na Bolom, in a state like Chiapas, is not easy, it requires people with enough sensitivity who are willing to have patience, since there is much to do, learn and compose with few financial resources, this being a complicated challenge.