The Mam Indians from the high plateaux have been under very tough pressures since the last 500 years. They managed to live with imported religions by adapting them to their traditional environment, and were able to protect their ancient beliefs through secrecy and a very strong sense of community. The guerrilla of the eighties and the military repression that went along with it, the crucial problem of an unfair distribution of the land, keep disintegrating their cultural integrity. They are being forced to flee towards lower lands, to fill the ranks of slum dwellers in the capital city, or even to seek refuge in Mexico. Some of their beliefs bear a striking resemblance to that of the people in the mountains of SE Asia.

13/12/94 Chiavals

Consultation for pregnant women meant as a training session to mid-wives. MSF Switzerland has put together a medical training program for mid-wives that also relies on traditional medicine.



13/12/94 Chichim

Potato harvest on the 3600 meter high plateau. The village of Todos Santos is situated in a lower valley, at 2400 meter, where it is possible to grow corn.

13/12/94 Chichim

Potato harvest on the 3600 meter high plateau. One bag of 50Kg is sold at 25 Quetzal (less than 5$).

13/12/94 Todos Santos

Transportation of 50 kilos of corn from the field to the village: a two hour-walk with strained neck-muscles.