Last update: 17.06.2004
November 1st



Almolonga, the village where we work, was founded in 1839 and is situated at 2.200 m altitude, 3km outside Quetzaltenango (Xela). More than 90% of the 15.000 inhabitants are engaged in agriculture, and the village has a considerable vegetable export to other parts of Guatemala, as well as to El Salvador and Honduras.

Almolonga is also known world wide for its extremely fast evangelic conversion. There are 25 churches spread around the valley, and close to all the citizens visit one of them every day. The religious communities represent the spiritual supremacy, but also by far the financial power in the village.

One benefit from the strong religious influence is that Almolonga, once suffering from heavy alcoholism as so many other indigenous villages in the highlands, now is one of the most productive communities in Guatemala.

Another important factor in economic rise in the village is the land distribution. Whereas territory in Guatemala generally is owned by the rich minority, most almolongan families possess their own terrain.

The population is growing fast (3.7% p.a.), and 55% of the inhabitants are between 0 and 19 years old. As many children start to work in the fields with their families, 45% of the people have no formal education at all.

Apart from church and high-quality vegetables (which are, of course, directly related), there is one thing occupying the minds of the almolongans: Toyota pick-ups.

An average Almolonga family consists of 8-10 people. They marry at 14-15 years of age, but continue to live in close relation to their relatives.