The PRODESAN (Economic Development, Education and Food and Nutrition Security) Project benefits people living along the sub-basin of the Polochic River and Candelaria in Senahú, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. It began in May 2012 and, since then, community members have been working with resources native to the region, such as cacao, cardamom, coffee and achiote (a savory spice used in cooking), to improve their livelihoods. Bee farming is another important activity for these residents, as they can earn money from the bees' valuable honey.
Upon a recent arrival of bees, delivered with care by Heifer Guatemala field staff, spiritual leaders in the community of Canguachá facilitated a Mayan ceremony to bless and protect the new honey makers. According to Mayan belief, bees are part of the hill or mountain, which was created by the god Tzul Taka, meaning Mountain Valley. In the ceremony, they ask Tzul Taka to protect the bees from disease. The placement of candles symbolizes protection from all directions. This, along with traditional prayers around the fire, is part of traditional Mayan K'ekchi culture.