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Tierra Santa


Before moving to its present location, the people of Tierra Santa lived in a village called Tzalamabaj that was up on the side of the volcano Toliman. In those years, 80 to 90 people lived there. It was during the civil war and a man named Anacleto Pic Panjoj was kidnapped from the village. Thanks to the intervention of Monsignor Greg and Father John Goggin, he was rescued.


On various occasions the inhabitants were threatened by both the guerillas and the army. They were not able to live peacefully or have religious meetings. The army forced many habitants of villages like Tzalmabaj to leave their land as part of the government's strategy to defeat the insurgency.


When the army forced the villagers off their land, they had to search for empty land to live on, which they found on the La Providencia plantation. The settlers went to live on this land on the south part of Panimaquip for 15 years. However they never had the legal right to the land because the owners of the plantation never agreed for them to come and live there.



In the 2000's the communities of Tierra Santa, Totolya, and Porvenir were affected a great deal by landslides. The Mission sent out a commission to unite these three communities and help solve problems they were facing. The commission went to negotiate with the owners of the plantation Providencia in order to buy that land.




In July of 2004 the Mission bought the land. The government of Oscar Berger declared a national emergency and they promised the communities they would provide the infrastructure for each community: building houses, schools, meeting rooms, religious centers, and a community center.


  • Construction: Since 2015, the Mission has built 94 fuel-efficient stoves in Tierra Santa.

  • Healthcare: In 2019, Tierra Santa was served by 5 visiting medical groups who conducted a total of 262 consults. There were 101 children enrolled in the child nutrition program with 25 families receiving the supplement.

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