In 2016, Project Harvest widened its program into two new communities, La Ceiba and La Libertad (22 and 33 new families respectively in each community). Families on average have 8 children. Both communities share some characteristics such as the same level of extreme poverty. The topography of the communities is steep (up to 60% slope). The soils are extremely rocky and shallow, and have little natural fertility. Both communities are out of the reach of economic and social support programs from State institutions and other development agencies.
This poverty and marginalization were the main criteria for the decision by Project Harvest to work in this area. La Ceiba is a Maya Chorti community, where the contrast between their colorful dress and their acute poverty shocks the eye. Fortunately, they have a primary school up to the sixth grade but there are no latrines, no running water, and no health center. Survival depends on whether there is sufficient rainfall to allow the community to harvest corn and enough beans to eat for at least 6 months of the year. For the other 6 months they must find a way to sell their labour on nearby coffee plantations or on the more distant sugar plantations.
Many of the young men who work under the demanding physical conditions of the sugar harvest turn to drink. Alcoholism is a major problem. Notwithstanding the adverse situation of these families, their faces fill with happiness and enthusiasm at the prospect of working with Project Harvest.