Protection of school and farming in Comaj Pericón
Comaj Pericón is a small community in the highland of Guatemala, which Building Communities and PEILE visited for the first time in June 2014.
In the community there are problems with land slides, because the trees on the hillside have been cut down in order to plant crops. The school is exposed, as well as many other houses. Besides that, the school is well-run and in good condition.
The soil is quite fertil, but without plantation to hold on to the nutrients the soil becomes impoverished with time, which again results in a inferior profit of the harvest. In Comaj Pericón, like in many other communities, the inhabitants are dependent of being able to use the largest part og the crops in order to feed the family, rather than selling them.
Therefore, it is a short term investment to cut down the trees on the hill sides, which in the long term causes big problems. A possibility is to create a re-planting project, which partly will render the existing school safe and prevent non-profitable farming for the families.
The first visit in June 2014 was to discuss the possibility to build a new school. But a new school does not solve the problem, which is the cutting of trees up along the hill sides. If the community is not generally protected against landslides, they will soon have the same problem when a new school is build. Whether or not we proceed with the project, depends on whether people in the community are open to the idea concerning a re-plantation project and thereby secure the existing school and the rest of the community.