Olger Guillermo Pop / CHOICE Guatemala Director
Olger was born in Guatemala City and lives now in Coban, Guatemala with his wife Hortencia (who also works for CHOICE) and his four children. Olger grew up in the home of his Grandfather in Coban and was influenced by his Grandfather's values of honesty, integrity, and principle. His native language is Q'eqchi, but is fluent in Spanish as well.
Olger graduated from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala with a Science degree in Agronomy. Upon graduation, he was granted a scholarship from the French Embassy for a Master’s Degree in Land Administration for Sustainable Development. After graduation, Olger went to work in the El Estor Izabal parish for Corporation TAK group of Central America as an Agronomist working in land legalization.
Olger comes to CHOICE with a wealth of knowledge and experience in both agriculture and sustainable development. Olger is an honest man with principles and shares his grandfather's values of honesty and integrity. He is a man of faith who loves to be challenged. He likes to travel, enjoys his family, loves to meet other people and has many dreams he hopes to become realities in his lifetime. Under his leadership, CHOICE hopes to grow and expand our impact in the Polochic region of Guatemala.
Ananias Ical Acte / General Services
I was born in the municipality of La Libertad in the department of Peten. I am the oldest of nine siblings. It took me a while to finish my basic education as I had to stop studying for awhile help my dad with agriculture. Ultimately I was able to earn a certificate in Rural Primary Education. This was difficult as I had to learn Spanish. Until this point, I spoke only my local language - Q'eqchi. After working as a welder to save for school, I enrolled at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala to study the Secondary Education Pedagogy. I was also teaching the Q'eqchi language, social sciences, and natural sciences to primary students to pay for my education. I was also teaching welding.
In 2016 I continued to work at the Peten Educational Center as I was still given the opportunity and that year several colleagues supported me to take my special graduation exam and thank God I was able to achieve my goal of being a teacher of Middle School. Unfortunately that year a tragedy happened in the family, my father died, a moment that will be unforgettable in my life. Due to this, I went to live with my family in Alta Verapaz, I had to take care of my mother.
This year I could not continue with my university studies due to the family tragedy. I spent a few months without work until in March I was given the opportunity to work at CHOICE Humanitarian as a welder. I am very happy with my job the support of the CHOICE Humanitarian Guatemala team.
Hortencia Amparo Castañeda / Administrator / Sikaab'e
I am originally from Sansare El Progreso. I grew up in a healthy and peaceful environment with four brothers. My childhood was very interesting because from a very early age my parents teach taught their children to perform different domestic chores, from that, I learned to cook oriental food. However, my father believed that women don’t go to school, study, or receive inheritance or property.
I always wanted to study and I always insisted that I would give the best of me. My parents were uncomfortable with the idea, but they allowed me to continue with my basic studies. My parents didn’t have money to pay for school, so with the help of my sister, I found a job as a secretary. I did not like it, but it was the only way for me to continue to go to school. Little by little my father changed his mind and allowed me to work in Guatemala City. It was there that I worked on my professional skills and also where I met my husband Olger Guillermo Pop who encouraged me to continue my studies. After having children, I received a Law Degree in Legal and Social Sciences.
Sergio Rivai Xol Coy / Agronomist
I joined CHOICE Guatemala to work in agriculture. I currently live with my wife Sonia Albertina Roman who is from Salama, Baja Verapaz. We have a 7-year old daughter whose name is Sonia.
Francisca Leticia Garcia
Santiago Ical / Animal Production Maintenance
My name is Santiago Ical, I was born on the Chulac farm in Senahu, Alta Verapaz. My Parents are Alberto Cucul and Margarita Ical (both deceased). My wife’s name is Albertina. I have 11 children (5 from the first marriage and 6 from the second marriage) I have 24 grandchildren.
When I was 18 years old, I finished my elementary school studies at the Official Rural Mixta de Chulac school. The following year I had my first job as an office manager’s assistant in the Chulac district farm. Throughout my life I have liked to teach people. Children and adults. I have been able to teach reading and writing, I have become a teacher empirically. I have taught elementary school children for several years and thanks to the positions I have had, and the trainings, workshops in which I have participated, I have obtained diplomas and merits.
In 1993 I closed basic education and in 1994 I finished Baccalaureate. In 2005 I began working at CHOCIE Guatemala as a volunteer. I started helping as a translator and liaison between the communities and meetings. In 2006, I became staff.
In 2008 I was selected to participate in the fresh summit in the “Fresh Summit International Convention Exposition” organized by the Produce Marketing Association in Orlando Florida, which was funded by the Guatemalan Association of Exporters.
Juan Jose Mejia / Driver
Raul Coc Pop / General Services
I was born in China Asr I am the Son of Joaquin Coc and Dominga Pop cac, My parents have sacrificed a lot to give me an education, as they understand that it is important to get a education to have a better chance in life. I continued high school studies in Seasir being 17 years old. My parents paid for me to study, and I helped at home.When I was 19 years old I joined my partner Cristina Cuz Subay, she was 16 years old. We now have 2 children, a 5-year old named Nxiel Crickenberg Coc Cruz and our 2-year old Cristian Franklin.
In 2014 I received a masonry course at the Sikaab’e Techification Training Center and I now have my certificate that gives me the opportunity to work as a Mason in Sikaab’e.
Edwin Otoniel Sacul / Agronomist
I was born in Santa Maria Cahabon, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala to Alberto Sacun Balin and Juana Leal Veliz. In 2013 I took an entrance exam to enter into a Agricultural school. Later in 2014, I joined the School of Tropical Agriculture EDV and found a career that changed my life and allowed me to learn more. Thanks to the school, in 2015 I had the opportunity to visit the farmers in small communities, where we did extensional trainings and demonstrations. This experience changed my way of sharing what I have learned to other poor farmers.
In 2016, thanks to the company organizer, I opted to do extension training the last year of my degree. So, in August I was able to practice what I had learned somewhere in the country, so I traveled to the Chiche department. There I worked in the Integral agricultural organization, which focuses on the production of honey. During these 4 months I acquired new experiences around the protection of the environment, November of that same year I opted to become a Agronomist, where I finished my career.
In the beginning of 2017, I dedicated myself to two of my own entrepreneurship projects that I continue to develop, like raising tilapia and producing organic honey. That same year, I started working with Choice Humanitarian, in the Alta Verapaz department. Upon entering, I realized how many opportunities I could have being part of the CHOICE Humanitarian team in this country. One experiences that I highlight while working with CHOICE is the communication and contract that we have with communities since it is one of the things that I have been trained to do.
CHOICE Humanitarian is an organization that has changed my live and has given me a positive outlook on the future. I am proud to be part of this team and the support system that we have. I always work with love, and would like to share some of my ideas with the team and the small communities in Guatemala to strengthen CHOICE Humanitarian in my country.
Carmela Xi / Cook
Elias Rigoberto Xol / Agronomist / Nursery Maintenance
My name is Elias Rigoberto Xol Xol, I am originally from Chaslau village in the Cahabon municipality of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. In 1976 I finished my last year of school in 1976 only through the sixth grade for personal reasons. This year CHOICE Humanitarian started the program of IGER (Guatemalan Institute of Radio Education) in where I could continue my studies. I am currently in seventh grade and hope to finish my studies and enter the university. *Elias is the student with the best grades and performance in the area of Estor.
Throughout the years, I have been able to work in different companies and institutions such a CARE, DIGESA, Compañía Transmetales OXEC, Tecun Oxec Company, and more. February 2011, I began to work with CHOICE Humanitarian where I still work in agriculture.