Ajuterique Honduras Murales

Ajuterique, Comayagua a Town Full of Color and Culture

Historical Background of the Municipality

The Municipality of Ajuterique is one of the oldest in Honduras. The municipal development plans for the city, 2016-2025, documents the history of the ajuteriques as descendants from the Lenca indigenous group. The town was founded in the year 1650 in a place called Quelepa, a mountainous area and where vestiges of ancient buildings have stood the test of time.

In its pre-hispanic history, the Lencas lived in the land. With the arrival of the Spanish, the original inhabitants abandoned the territory only to return to the geographical location’s fertile lands to grow legumes, and benefit from the abundance of water for irrigation. The area was repopulated by Ladinos at the same time that the city of Comayagua developed.

 

Casa de la Cultura. Source: Marca Honduras.

 

In ancient times the municipality of Ajuterique was consigned for caballerias or curatos, which were destined for the cultivation of legumes that supplied the valley at that time. The origin of its name is attributed to the Lenca language and means, “stone of the iguanas” and also to Nahuatl’s interpretation: “Big eye at the foot of the mountain.” It is also believed that the name, Ajuterique is associated with garlic, since its original inhabitants cultivated it.

 

Iglesia Jesus Nazareno. Source: Marca Honduras.

 

Ajuterique was categorized as a municipality in the year 1862, and in 1889 became a municipality of the district of Comayagua. Among its first families were the Medal, Marín, Marroquín, and Laínez, and the following families are still in the area: Familias Hernández, Fernández, Vásquez, Díaz, Bindel, Sánchez, Castro, García, Korea. The first communities  established in the municipality included: Quelepa, El Playón and El Misterio, with the last two receiving the title of villages.

 

Ajuterique Comayagua. Source: El Colocho Viajero.

 

Traditions

Among the traditions, Ajuterique celebrates patron saint fairs. The first from January 4 to 7 in honor of the Virgin of Reyes; two fairs in honor of the patron saint,  Eccehomo (also known as the town fair) in the month of May, which can sometimes take place in June, and Holy Week. At these parties, it is very common to find mojigangas, fireworks, encounters sports, dance parties, typical foods and tripe soup. In Holy Week the traditional food is fish soup. Religiously, they celebrate baptisms, weddings and processions. Among other official festivals are: Mother’s Day, Children’s Day, Independence Day, Christmas and the New Year.

 

Murales de Ajuterique. Source: El Colocho Viajero.

 

Ancient and existing gastronomy
Popular meals include stew, chanfaina, chicharrones, tripe soup, chicken soup with corn rice, soup de olla, squash seed soup, nacatamales, montucas, pisque tamalitos, tamalitos of ashes, nougat, sweets, homemade bread, pork rinds, and corn tamales.

Typical drinks
Chilate, fresh masa, horchata, sweet atol (tender corn), sour atol (fermented corn), chicha.

Historical heritage

  • The town is home to a Catholic Church built in 1660 by the Templars
  • The Vásquez Family House was built in the colonial period
  • Archaeological objects have been found in Ajuterique including, clay pots, kitchen objects, hunting tools used by indigenous people among others.

Farming
Corn, beans, rice, citrus, mango, cucumber, oriental, guava, onion.

Animal raising
Poultry, cattle, pigs, goats.

Commerce
The marketing infrastructure of this municipality is made up of agents who intervene in the distribution process, which is exactly the same as the one used by the independent peasants. The producers are owners of their crops and are free to say to whom and at what price they will sell the product of their crops.  Intermediaries in the area are called “Coyotes.” The sale of the products is carried out in the markets of Tegucigalpa, Comayagua and San Pedro Sula.

Industry

Part of the economy of the municipality of Ajuterique is supported by the existence of brickyards, carpentry, pottery, blacksmiths, as well as mechanical and welding workshops Most are located in the urban area of the municipality which has 3 Agro-exporters.

The Municipality of Ajuterique has a population of 11,505 (2015) inhabitants, distributed in 6 neighborhoods, 4 villages, 14 hamlets, and 5 Colonias. The population up to 18 years is 42.4% of the total, which shows a relatively young population which will need new sources of work and new public services, among other aspects. The main economic activities of the municipality are agriculture and livestock and, to a much lesser extent, trade and professional services, the latter in the education, health and development sectors.

The largest predominant workforce is in the education sector with 11.3% of the total employable workforce. There are a total of 128 different professions and trades. The profession that stands out is that of Primary Education Teacher, while the most relevant trades are: domestic trades, day laborers, bricklayers, merchants and workers.

 

Ajuterique, antique muncipality of Honduras. Source: Honduras Tips.

 

Ajuterique maintains its cultural legacy through the artistic beauty of 20 murals found in different parts of this municipality. Beautifying towns with murals is a Honduran artistic trend. The Cultural Committee of Ajuterique restored the identity of the town through its the murals. One of the most visited places is the parasol walk, in the Concepcion neighborhood, where dozens of umbrellas have been placed hanging along an entire block. Named, “the street of the murals,” Ajuterique has a very picturesque neighborhood in which all its houses are adorned with beautiful murals that tell the history of the municipality and its customs, located in the Angeles neighborhood.

 

Youth from Ajuterique beautify their town through muralism. Photo source: Honduras Tips.

 

La Casa de Cultura

Remodeled in 2010, it has a library and a space for the art and history of the town, with a brief compilation of ionic and historical elements of the municipality. There are plans to convert it into a municipal museum and also an area where training workshops can be given in various artistic areas.

Iglesia Jesus Nazareno

Built in 1650, it has a great history since its structure and altarpiece are in colonial style, upholstered with gold lines and with various elements from the colonial era. The inglesia has paintings of great historical value, a treasure to the town.

The cultural committee formed by several young people from Ajuterique joined talents in an initiative to revive their town with different murals highlighting the identity of Honduras, and its culture, flora, fauna and indigenous communities.

“We came together a year ago to offer the people a new face and shape to Ajuterique as a tourist destination, and with the murals we want to highlight the local culture, how we live, the products that are produced, our traditions, gastronomy, flora, fauna and music. This is a joint effort with the mayor’s office that supports us with materials and logistics,” said Michelle Palencia, a member of the Cultural Committee.

 

Bello Ajuterique. Photo source: Honduras Tips.

 

It should be noted that Ajuterique is part of the tourist district that is in the process of restructuring and where Comayagua, Humuya, Lamani, San Sebastian and Villa de San Antonio will all be included.

 

“We are the product of our hands,” Muralism in Ajuterique. Photo source: Honduras Tips.

 

“I am very proud of our beloved Ajuterique is rising touristically and with this new route that is being created we are getting ready to receive all the travelers who want to know about this historical place,” commented Maria Palencia, former mayor of Ajuterique.

 

Barrio Concepcion. Photo Source: Honduras Tips.

 

The best time to visit is when Ajuterique celebrates their various fairs. In January, Ajuterique holds its patronal fair and the town puts together a great celebration. Just 11 kilometers from colonial Comayagua visitors will find the tranquility of the Ajuteriquenses. The town’s amazing murals adorn this municipality with vibrancy, color and pride in their rich heritage.


Soledad Quartucci | Latina Republic

Dr. Soledad Quartucci is the founder and CEO of Latina Republic, a 501(C)3 California-based nonprofit organization. Latina Republic is committed to improving the diversity and professional development of storytellers in the media industry as representation matters and affects the stories we tell. Latina Republic makes space for and empowers unheard voices and trains the next generation of leaders in the U.S.