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Xepanil, Santa Apolonia

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Community Life:

  • Xepanil was founded forty years ago by 22 Maya Kaqchikel families. Since then, the village has grown to 125 families.
  • The first infrastructure built in the community was the school, where classes officially started in 1978. Currently Xepanil’s primary school offers education from pre-school to sixth grade.
  • “Xepanil” means “below the hill” in Kaqchikel, and it was named for having this location.
  • For medical attention people need to travel to Santa Apolonia—the county seat almost eight miles away—or use alternative medicine. The community has access to public transportation just on Thursdays when it is market day in Tecpán.
  • Before December 2015, water access was a problem for most of the families in Xepanil, with women and girls spending many hours per week carrying water and boiling it for drinking.
  • The community has had electricity service for 18 years.
  • The families from Xepanil work mainly in subsistence agriculture, producing corn and beans for their own consumption, without a surplus that they can sell. Women also dedicate some time to traditional weaving.

Our Partnership:

When we began working with Xepanil in February 2015, 90 percent of the community’s children under five suffered from chronic malnutrition. This rate had been reduced to 70 percent by June 2016. Xepanil graduated from our two-year program in January 2017.

Integrated Approach to Development: Xepanil’s Progress

Community Perspectives:

“I am 23 years old, born in the village of Xepanil. I am a married woman, eight months pregnant. I’m a Maya Kaqchikel speaker, wear traditional clothes and enjoy participating in the activities that take place in the community.

I am a working woman who gets up early to start a fire and prepare coffee and breakfast for my husband. He leaves for work and I stay home doing household activities. When I have spare time I weave, and now that ABPD/ALDEA is working at the community, I have been attending the educational trainings to learn new things.

I used to live in unsafe conditions because I started the fire on the ground and my kitchen was full of smoke. We did not have a latrine so we had to use areas around of our home to defecate. Now the situation has changed. We have a stove that has improved our financial condition, because we spend less money in buying firewood, and with the new latrine we no longer pollute our house. What I hope now is to have water at home, that way I will have time to do other activities instead of hauling water many hours every day.”

Natalia García Tun (March 2015)

For a more thorough snapshot on Xepanil’s work in progress, please read our Spring 2016 Newsletter, here.

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