Fajina is a Maya word (also spelled fagina or pajina) that means communal labor. Members of a community give their time for the good of the community to make sure that everyone can benefit from working together. Many Maya communities in Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, and other areas of Central America practiced fajina during the colonial period, as the Spanish came and documented those cultures. Many modern communities still practice fajina and we think that fajina was an important part of ancient Maya life.
This Fajina is a community outreach organization run by archaeologists who feel a great responsibility to give back and support the communities in which they work. Many of the first projects of Fajina are centered on communities in central Belize, near the archaeological site of Xunantunich, Belize. Future projects will serve more communities and continue to spread the impact that archaeology and community can build together.
Fagina is organized by Leah McCurdy, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at The University of Texas at San Antonio and an archaeologist who works in central Belize. All donations are distributed directly to the communities served by these projects. Neither Leah, nor any other project supporter, receives anything other than the intangible benefits of serving a community.