Living standards are low, with average annual households incomes being around Q1500 (approx. 200$ or 150EUR) per family. The supply of running water exists sporadically and the power supply is only reliable in the summer months. Most household do not have flooring, or household equipment used in the developed world such as microwaves, stoves, toasters, or washing machines. Very peculiar however, is that refrigerators, TVs, and radios are very popular amongst the population.
The region known in Guatemala as “El valle del Polochic” (Polochic Valley) lies on the south eastern side of Alta Verapaz bordering with the Departamento Izabal. The Polochic River, as the name giving river, spreads through 5 Municipalities, Tamahu, Tucuru, La Tinta, and El Estor where approximately 95% of the inhabitants are indigenous Q’eqchi. The valley lies within a subtropical climate and has rich soils in its lowland areas where rice crops, sugar cane, and palm oil prosper. In the high mountain regions, cardamon and one of the best coffee crops in the world can be found.
Despite having such rich natural resources the region remains one of the least developed areas in Guatemala. According to its HDI (2009) the region can be compare to development levels in Sub Saharan Africa. Low education levels that barely reach the 6th grade (primary school), extremely low health accessibility, and unequal incomes are still widely characteristic for the area although vast improvement is taking place.