San Andres

The families of the Colonia of San Andres come from the Pampojila Finca. In 1901 migrants from San Andres Semetabaj and other communities arrived  in order to work on this finca. From there, the population grew for more than 112 years. 

On many occasions there were landslides from Volcano Toliman, when this area was affected by storms. The worst storm came in 2005, when the community was devastated by Hurricane Stan. 151 people lived on the finca, 70% of whom were temporary workers, which means that the finca only gave them seasonal work. The other 30% of the families always had work as well as housing benefits according to laws passed to protect the workers .

After the damage caused by Hurricane Stan on October 5, 2005, the owner of the finca made the 70% of the workers who were day  laborers and their families leave the finca, so he would not have to be responsible for or help with the damages to their shelters that they, themselves had built. The owner did not want to have to be responsible for helping the temporary workers and their families recover from the disaster, only those families who had housing benefits.

 

After this, the families created the COCODE Committee (Community Development Advice Committee). In conjunction with various other organizations, including the Mission, they started the process to find other land where the temporary workers could live with their families.  

During a community meeting the name for the new community, Colonia San Andrés was approved. 

There was no water source in the community so water had to be piped in. Two tanks were built , one for storage and the other tank was for distribution to the houses. 

 

Other organizations began to help from there, such as Strickland Construction, which constructed a community room to use as classrooms.  They also built a Catholic church. At this time mapping was started so land for growing food could be distributed to the families.
 

In October of 2006 the first phase of construction, which was 50 homes, began. The second and third phases of house construction followed soon after, with the same number of houses being built each time.

 

In December, many of the families had moved in and they were able to spend the New Year in their new home.  Each home had three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and an indoor bathroom. A place to do laundry was provided as well.

 

The size of lot donated to each family for housing was 12 meters by 18 meters.  They were given another lot 12 meters by 12 meters on which to grow food. 
 

From the end of 2007 until February, 2008 the final phase of construction was completed. All the houses were built, and each family had moved in. Some projects that were lagging behind still needed to be completed, such as bringing electricity and creating a road through the neighborhood of La Joya in order to reach the urban area of San Lucas easier.

 

In 2009 electricity was brought into the community on June 17th. Another water tank that was able to hold 40,000 liters of water was constructed. Approval to repave the new road that allowed easier access to San Lucas was finalized in 2019. 
 

The community now has 238 families forming a modern united community that is advancing rapidly in its development and showing the world that we are able to use our workforce and strength to achieve our right to decent housing, health care, education, and community development without having to wait for the authorities or government to give it to us.

 

We are hoping that this community will be the example for all of San Lucas Toliman. The culture and feast day of the San Andrés is celebrated on November 30th. Our traditional clothing comes from the municipality of San Andrés Sementabaj.

MISSION IMPACT:

  • Coffee: In 2019, 6 growers from San Andres sold their coffee to the Mission.

  • Construction: Since 2015, the Mission has built 8 wood homes and 51 fuel-efficient stoves in San Andres.

  • Healthcare: In 2019, San Andres was served by 4 visiting medical groups who conducted a total of 134 examinations. There were 82 children enrolled in the child nutrition program with 14 families receiving the supplement.

Community Leadership: 

Each community in the municipality of San Lucas Toliman has elected leadership specific to that community.  These groups of elected leaders are usually referred to as a COCODE.  People from the community are elected and usually serve 1-2 years.  The COCODE usually has about a dozen members.