Santa Fe Ajké
“Our Holy Faith”
Location: Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico
Size: 247 acres
Population: 28 families / 116 people
Primary Activities: basic grains, coffee, and lemons
This group of families was the first one to be established in the Comitan region of Mexico, close to the Mexican-Guatemalan border. The families of Santa Fe Ajke are predominately Mam and Jacalteco, originating from the Ixcan region of Guatemala, just over the Mexican border. During the civil war in Guatemala (1970s – 1990s), violence spread throughout the countryside, burning homes and fields and killing innocent families in once quiet mountainside communities. As a result, many Guatemalan families fled to Mexico for refuge. While they found respite from the war, they have nevertheless struggled to survive amidst discrimination, racism, neglect, and extreme poverty.
Over twenty-five years later, the families making up Santa Fe Ajké began a new chapter in their lives. Having carried their cultural knowledge across borders and generations, they were excited to have the opportunity to search for and select land where they live, work, raise their families in safety, and will own themselves. Women raise small animals and sell homemade bread and handicrafts. Men learned new ways to grow diverse crops sustainably. Children began school and learned trades. In the 247-acre community, children, women and men now dream of possibilities for the first time, and where fear and despair once took hold, are now planning for the future.