The work of the non-profit association becamino takes place in Guatemala, specifically in the small Municipality of Cobán. Cobán is located about 200 kilometres by car north of the capital of Guatemala in the province of Alta Verapaz. Cobán is where we originally carried out our social civil service year and where we are still active through becamino.
The Cobán region lies at approximately 1300 meters above sea level. The landscape is mountainous and covered in large parts by rainy sub-tropical forest. Despite the hilly landscape, agriculture is the biggest source of employment in the region. Particularly striking is the variety of coffee and cardamom plantations.
A great majority of the population is indigenous which means besides Spanish, the Q’eqchi Mayan language is spoken. Especially in rural areas, Q’eqchi is typically the native language and Spanish and is taught as a first foreign language in primary school, which is required to be competitive in the labour market. Apart from the language, the descendants of the Maya are known for their colourful garments, still regularly worn by women today.
There are also several touristic attractions in Alta Verapaz. Popular destinations are for example, the nature reserve Semuc Champey with its turquoise water pools, or the Candelaria Caves National Park. In addition, tours are offered to explore the rainforest.