August 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

5:30am, Sarstún, Guatemala: The sun has not quite risen, but you can smell tortillas. Women move in and out of their small houses, starting to cook for the day. Most men left home in the early hours to trek down muddy paths towards the fields. The day starts early here because there is a lot to be done. Here, a young man named Samuel Coc Yat measures old trees and plants new ones, checks in with families who have just started using fuel-efficient stoves, and talks to teenagers about the role they can play in conserving their environment. He is a field technician with EcoLogic, and like almost everyone else in the area, he’s Maya K’ekchi’.

Samuel Coc Yat, indigenous Maya K'ekchi EcoLogic field technician

EcoLogic field technician Samuel Coc Yat is a member of the indigenous Maya K’ekchi’ community in Sarstún, Guatemala (Photo: Lee Shane)