Francisco Cuz - Biography


Note: The following was originally written in Spanish, by Francisco Cuz, and is translated below.


     I am 34 years old and belong to the Q'eqchi' Francisco Cuzethnic group. I am a survivor of the internal armed conflict that took place in Guatemala for 36 years (1960 to 1996). I was born in the village of Cobán, Alta Verapaz, in 1977. When I was only 2 years, we abandoned our home because of the forces of war and fled into the mountains where we stayed for several years.

     While we were hiding in the mountains, my father became ill and died of a disease because he had no access to a health center nor doctor. We never again returned to our homeland, and spent several years looking for another place to live. In 1989, we moved to the community of Tanhoc (incorporated as a Cooperative since 1979), in Poptun, Petén, where we live today.

     In 1990, at the age of 13, I begin my studies in primary school, which lasted for 6 years. I was a little embarrassed, because I was the oldest among my colleagues, but I got over it and over the years I became increasingly interested in my studies. At that time I already enjoyed participating in community work, and attended meetings and training courses on cooperatives. I finished primary schooling at the age of 18.

     When I started my high school studies in 1996, I had a vision of my community. I wanted to do something to solve some of its problems, but lacked the capacity to do this. That prompted me to continue studying. At that time I also got the idea of ​​studying agronomy, because I love the countryside and enjoy working with people in rural communities.

     Over the years, thank God, I have met several good people who have helped me to achieve good things in my life, for example: priest 
Rafael Gama Blanco J.S., sister Marifé Hellman C.PP.S., padres of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in Guatemala, and members of the NGO, Pueblo Partisans.

     The above-mentioned persons, directly and indirectly, and in different ways, were involved in my personal and professional development after I completed high school. This happened when I had to move to Guatemala City to take college-level courses. I then started a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Sciences at the Universidad Rafael Landivar, which because of personal difficulties, I could not finish. Nevertheless, I still have the desire and will complete it and not lose hope that one day I will graduate in agricultural engineering.

     In 2003, a miracle happened because I encountered Mr. Thomas Grauman, a member of Pueblo Partisans, who has been working for many years in Guatemala; we have since become friends. Mr. Grauman and his colleagues learned about my background and the situation in my community, and became interested in lending a helping hand to lift my community, which was dying of failure and alienation.

     Then, in 2006, Pueblo Partisans began a program in the Tanhoc Cooperative and I've been with them since the beginning. People in the community are happy about the accomplishments Tanhoc project has had. However, there is still more to do, because the development cannot be achieved in a short period of time.

     With the help of good-hearted people, we will continue work in this community and in others that have the same, or worse, conditions.

     I like working with Pueblo Partisans because it has a philosophy that fits the way people are, and does not come across as an authority that impose things. This way of working accommodates people, because it makes them feel confident and believe in themselves that achievements can be reached.

     In short, this has been my life, and I hope to tell you other things at the next opportunity.

Tanhoc, November 2011

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Francisco’s partner, Delmi, with daughter, Diana.