Paraje Xecaxjoj, Guatemala

Program Lead: Emma York (

In Paraje Xecaxjoj (pronounced Par-ah-hey Check-ah-hoe) we are designing a two-story school building to accommodate approximately 400 children.

Travel Summer 2017

During August 2017 travel to Guatemala, the team visited a new community, Paraje Xecaxjoj. They performed a preliminary assessment in August and the community has shown their ability to support a school.

Since then

Many civil and architectural students have joined for the hands on experience of designing a building from the ground up. In doing so, our team is learning that no project is “cut and paste”. The land set aside for the school has slope stability issues above and below the plot. We have spent the past months consulting with faculty and professionals, learning as much as we can about different slope stability method. Priorities for this are materials found in-country and sustained by local community for the coming years. The upper shorter slope will be stabilized through the use of gabion walls. Our team has spent many hours learning the best method of constructing and maintaining gabion walls, so that we can communicate and build this option with the community. The second lower slope, is still under consideration on the best method of stabilization.

Looking Ahead

Our plan is to visit the community either in the Summer of 2020 or during the fall semester. We plan to give the completed structural plans for the school to the community, help oversee the purchase of equipment and building materials, and meet with contractors. The Guatemala team is excited to continue working with Paraje Xecaxjoj.

As a fun fact, we learned that the community’s name translated means “the eagle sees the spicy vegetable under the mountain.”

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