The 445-acre tract, with a river running through it, is located several thousand feet below Xix. Plans called for fruit trees, cows, timber for carpentry and sales, vegetables for school and export, native herbs and vegetables, coffee. Students would be introduced to new foods. There would be dairy, and, of course, corn and beans. They would reforest.
Fifty percent of the profits from the coffee crop would fund the school.
The sale was negotiated in 2009. Now the land is almost paid off. The finca was named PAXIL.
Individuals associated with the New Mayas Society provided donations and loans to cover some of the payments.
Hundreds of fruit trees have been planted, some already bearing. There are native plants and herbs: tree tomatoes, tobacco used in healing ceremonies, beloved malanga and pacaya which sustained the people when they fled to the mountains after the massacres of the 1980s. Goats, gifted by the organization “Save the Children,” have given way to a few head of dairy cattle. Bee hives produce honey and insure pollination.
Twenty-thousand young cypress, cedar and pine trees, transplanted from the nursery on the land, replace mature trees cut for sale and use at the school. Rainforest Alliance partnered in this project.
The finca is a hub for training, land for landless (seventy-five families rent parcels, the land equally divided between the man and the woman.) Paxil is an attraction to agronomists as well as international and Guatemalan organizations. USAID and AGEXPORT have provided funds, consultation and training to develop exports of peas both from both the finca and from individual and family producers across the region. Irrigation systems and greenhouses have been constructed. In the works… cultivation of organic vegetables; a packaging plant to provide community jobs for direct sales to North America; onions for export. Chia has proved successful. There is sugar cane, along a plethora of greens used in local dishes.
Coffee is planted on 20 acres, considerably less than the 200 planned, but a start. Although it is the best hope to sustain the school, other crops also provide funds.
Last but not least, the finca provides a laboratory and classroom, especially to those students who plan to pursue a career in agronomy.