Why For-profit is the Environmentally Conscious Future: The Tale of a Mayan Village, Part 2

| 10/12/2018 9:59:00 AM

Photo by Atitlan Organics 

This is Part 2 of a four-part series. Part 1 explores the crux between environmental and cultural preservation.

Another morning begins in the Mayan village of Tzununá, Guatemala. Some villagers board boats to get to their jobs or schools in larger towns. Youth wait in tuk-tuks at the dock for lancha boats to bring them business. Other villagers — the old school ones — hike up to parcels of land to tend fields and gather fruit. A few dozen go to building sites where they work in one of the fastest growing industries in town — building houses for foreigners who have bought land in town.

While the first expats moved in two decades ago, the last few years have seen a massive influx of foreigners buying land, bringing with them income, work, development, complications, educational opportunities, and all the challenges of gentrified change.

Marcos, a local Mayan man of 25, finishes his breakfast of tortillas, rice, and fruit and sets off for work. For the past four years, he has worked for Lomas de Tzununá, a family-run hotel in the hills (lomas) of Tzununa with incredible views of Lake Atitlan. He’s their chupusero, capable of chapusear anything — a colloquialism that means, he Macgyvers broken things back together.

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