The people of Cajola have been migrating for ages. Their land is rocky and hilly and difficult to farm. In order to earn income, they have been migrating to the coast to work on the sugar or coffee plantations during the harvest. The 36-year war in Guatemala saw some migration to the US, but migration began in earnest during the second half of the nineties pushed by the extreme poverty the community experiences. Today nearly a third of the community lives in the United States. There are many different stories. Originally it was primarily men who left, but women began to migrate as well. Some women left to join their husbands, others are single mothers who go to earn money to feed, clothe, and educate their children, and others to help the family’s economic situation.
The benefits of migration are the remittances that return to Cajola to build houses, pay for education and health care, or perhaps invest in something that will product income.
The tragedy of migration is the suffering, deaths, and destruction of the family and social fabric.
The work of Grupo Cajola is to assist families in locating lost or detained family members, counseling them in how the immigration system works, helping them find legal help in the United States. We work with various groups in Guatemala and the United States to provide what help we can.
And, of course, that is the driver behind the dream of developing Cajola so there is no more need to migrate.