Midway Village

Midway Village, established only within the last 10-15 years, has a total population of 200 and over 28 households. It is located along the Barranco road, about 4.5 miles from Barranco Village. Recently, much of the National Land around Midway has been surveyed and leased out to villagers in 30-acre (12.15ha) parcels. In common with other Q’eqchi villages in the region, the predominant economic activity is limited to subsistence milpa agriculture (corn, rice and beans). As the majority of lands in and around the community have been surveyed into parcels, Midway village has a far more secure form of land tenure than the rest of the Kekchi communities in the region.

However, the size of each leased parcel is insufficient for the current size and required fallow period needed for ecosystem recovery following slash-and-burn. This may ultimately end in additional areas being converted to agriculture, and as slash and burn is expected to intensify (as a result of an increasing population and land scarcity) land and soil degradation will lead to permanent ecosystem conversion. Although surveyed and leased land is a form of secure tenure, to a subsistence farmer the parcel size is insufficient to allow for proper fallow period, forcing the occupant to use marginalized land, ultimately leading to further degradation.

In the area surrounding Midway village, there is a cooperative land holding of 500 acres, which is currently being occupied by Q’eqchi migrants from Forest Home, Eldridgeville, and San Marcos. The future of the area has yet to be determined or its link to Midway, although residents of the cooperative do not acknowledge the Midway Alcalde or Village Council.

The village has poor water supply, and during the height of the dry season, water is scarce. A new-elevated has been completed, but as of late does not function properly. During the height of the dry season, hand pumps in the village are the only available water source, and it is not of good quality, thus accounting for a higher occurrence of water borne illnesses. 24-hour electricity has now been supplied, and the village has a primary school, and relies on the Alcaldes for police services. There is no telephone service. Housing is still almost exclusively thatch, though concrete is being increasingly used, such as with the village school. One or two shops have appeared over the last few years. The village is served by the Coc’s Barranco bus service.