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The full name of the community is Santa Cruz Quixaya.  Why the name Santa Cruz? When the first workers of the plantation called Finca Santa Cruz Quixaya arrived, they discovered a cross on the high part of the mountain. The cross can still be found inside the Catholic Church in the community, even though much has changed since that time.


The Quintana family, who owned the plantation sold it to Mr. Papadopol who had an administrator called Alfonzo Estrada who always carried pistols and cheated our grandparents. He gave them Q100.00 to sign a paper. Then he said they were fully compensated for their work and evicted them. He also kept the cross, something very important to our people. 



That same year Father Greg and Father John purchased half of the finca for the purpose of forming the community of Quixaya. The community was in charge of working the coffee and sugar cane to help pay for the plantation. We harvested the coffee, cleaned it, and processed it to the parchment stage. The cane we sold to a refinery.


The measurement and assignment of lots for housing and parcels for farming was done by Father John. He was our "engineer" (a very good one).  Later we were helped by Uncle Bill ("Tio Bill" is what we called him) who was a volunteer surveyor from the States, and other collaborators. They platted 64 lots for 64 families.


They also distributed 64 parcels of land to grow coffee.


During both distributions of land, we were united in prayer. 



After so much struggle and sacrifice, and thanks to Father Greg, Father John, and our friends in the United States, everything was paid for. Those days we met every day after work and we all prayed the Holy Rosary.  Now, we pray it every Friday.




The land where they began to divide lots was previously pasture. The first families lived near the banks of the river in shacks. Later when all the families moved to the land, at night the men and women carried water from the river to their houses because they did not have water pipes.


A cooperative helped with house construction, and then various community development projects were done one by one with the help of different NGO’s. The help of Father John and Father Greg was invaluable.




After the earthquake of 1991, people from Finca San Bernardino, Finca San Jorge, and other plantations arrived to stay here in our community. Apart from being displaced by the earthquake, they also suffered from the effects of the civil war.


The community of Quixaya grew and eventually the communities of San Juan Mirador and Nuevo San Gregorio were formed.  The leaders decided to name San Juan Mirador in honor of Father John Goggin and the community Nuevo San Gregorio in honor of Monsignor Gregory Schaffer.  



In the 80’s with the help of Father Phil Schotzko the church reconstruction project began. It was then that the whole community went to the plantation owner to ask for the cross. It took a lot of time to convince him, but in the end they obtained the cross. This gives the community the name Colonia Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) Quixaya. In Kakchiquel Quix means large thorn and ya means water. Thus, "thorn where the river passes."


  • Construction: Since 2015, the Mission has built 2 block houses, 2 wood homes and 44 fuel-efficient stoves in Quixaya.

  • Healthcare: In 2019, Quixaya was served by 5 visiting medical groups who conducted a total of 204 consults. There were 77 children enrolled in the child nutrition program with 13 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.

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