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Indigenous Q´eqchies people who live near the ridge of the Cahabon river watershed in Alta Verapaz department of Guatemala are underemployed, have few labor alternatives, are plagued by illiteracy, and have no access to potable water, draining systems and electricity. The region, rich in natural resources, is threatened by deforestation, which affects water sources that supply 10,000 families.
The main goal of Heifer's project in this area of Guatemala is to promote activities that will provide income and conserve the biodiversity and natural resources in the region for 800 families. The project will distribute 180 rabbits, 252 turkeys, 81 sheep and 3,600 earthworms. Country staff is providing training in natural and environmental history and activities that will conserve the natural resources and improve the habitat.
Marcos Rax Can is a voluntary promoter in his community and the first to ask to participate in raising rabbits. He began as a Passing on the Gift recipient from a fellow small farmer in the community of Semesche, and then recruited 10 additional people from his community to participate.
Marcos says, "I am proud to be working at Raxmu, because of the success that we have had all these years of working, sowing different crops such as chili, lol and nun (two varieties of beans), oox (Malanga), mox (tamale leaf—clalthea-sclerobracteata), and with my grass planted in contour lines to conserve the soil, like they showed us in the training. Thank you for the support, and may God bless you."
Marcos learned and taught grass planting using rabbit waste as fertilizer. Now he is working on turkey production with the turkeys provided by Proeval Raxmu. He has participated in exchange visits to Tejutla San Marcos, where he learned about handling fruit trees, processing fruits, pruning and using organic fertilizer, which motivated him to become a facilitator in his own community.