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A 12 kilometers drive from the small colonial city of Antigua, between three volcanoes: the active volcano the Fuego and the volcanoes Acatenango and Agua, you will find the municipality of San Juan Alotenango. With only one main road and many narrow roads on the flanks of the volcanoes, the more than 21,000 inhabitants live on average three euros per day per family of 6-8 people. 72% of the inhabitants are descended from the original inhabitants who speak the Mayan language Kaqchikel. The older generations of women still wear traditional costumes with colorful skirts and huipils and carry the messages on their heads. Many women can still weave on traditional, narrow hip looms. The men often work as day laborers in small-scale agriculture or have a small piece of land on which they grow products. 

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Coffee, maize and beans are mainly grown in Alotenango. The coffee is for sale; the corn and beans for own use. Many women find work in the household, where they have to work many hours for a very small income.  There are also a number of large nurseries in the area that produce plants for export. The Aloteks are famous for the good waiters and catering staff they provide throughout the area and throughout Guatemala. 

Very poor families live in the village, who have no money for education, healthy food, decent shelter and medical costs.  Many of the children are put to work at a very young age and are faced with heavy responsibility at a very young age. 

Insecurity and Violence  has great influence on the daily lives of the Alotecs. The inhabitants with lands higher on the flanks of the volcano suffer from theft and insecurity. For example, the products are often stolen when they are almost ready to harvest. Previously, the coffee was often stolen at night by picking it, now the thieves wait for the men to bring down their harvest and attack the farmers. Many small countries are therefore abandoned and neglected. There is a lot of extortion and abuse of the need for medicines for relatives to offer loans, which are then demanded back in such a violent and threatening way that people sometimes have to give up their lands for little money to pay their debt. can redeem.

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Do you want to support the people of Alotenango? Donate directly or read on and discover how you can get involved!

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