Building 100 Stoves to Celebrate our 100,000th Housing Solution!

This April, we are celebrating our 100,000th Housing Solution! From the 21st until the 29th of April, we will build with partner affiliates from the United States in Antigua and Zacapa. Thank you for making it possible for us to reach this goal!

But we’re not done yet. As part of our mission to improve housing in Guatemala, we work to better the situations of our most vulnerable families: those who earn between $2 and $4 daily. In honor of our 100K milestone we are seeking to support 100 vulnerable families with a smokeless stove. Donate here

Why a stove? Habitat Guatemala smokeless stoves improve the health of families by eliminating disease-inducing indoor smoke and lowering the risk of burns from cooking over an open flame. Additionally, smokeless stoves cut the amount of wood needed to cook almost in half, saving families money and time.

One smokeless stove costs $100 USD and drastically improves the homes of families. Help us support Guatemalans by donating today. (If you choose to support this initiative, make sure to designate your donation to 100K!)

Marielsy Susely Alistan

Marielsy Susely and her two-year-old son, Joshep, live in their home in Zacapa. Her husband, Victor, moved to the United States for work about one month ago, but Marielsy is planning on staying in Guatemala. Her aunt is her neighbor–she also lives in a Habitat Guatemala home–and Marielsy likes living close to her family. “Before we built our home with Habitat for Humanity Guatemala we lived with my parents,” Marielsy shared. “We wanted our own home, our own space. And it’s wonderful–I can make my own decisions about my house. We still need to finish the floor,” continued Marielsy. “But I’m happy to be in my home.”

“It was so nice to have the volunteers help build our home!” Marielsy expresses. “It was difficult to build in the hot sun, but they worked hard.”

Lucia Virginia Coxaj

Lucia Virginia lives with her husband, Gerson, their young son, Gerson Gael, and her sister-in-law in Sololá. Prior to building their home, the family rented a house in the town of Panajachel, about half an hour away. Lucia works in Panajachel in the mornings as an office assistant and her husband is a boat driver. They bought the land about five years ago because they knew they eventually wanted to have their own home in the area; the rest of Lucia’s family moved to Guatemala City, but she decided to stay to be near her grandfather.

“We are so happy to have our own home,” Lucia expresses. “Before, we all shared two rooms–now we have four! We are planning on painting the house a melon color and in the future would like to build an addition, too.”

“It was so nice to have the volunteers here,” she continued. “Everyone was so happy to work and had so much energy! I’m so thankful for the good work that they did and ask God to bless them.”

Martha Calel

Martha Calel and her family live in Sololá. Her husband, Nicolaces, works in the surrounding communities cutting firewood for people to buy. They have two sons, aged four and six. Martha and her family have their own house and various other family members live in their own houses on the same land. In the middle of the houses is a temazcal, or Maya sweat lodge, that the family members share.

Martha learned about the Habitat for Humanity Guatemala Healthy Home Kits program from a community leader. Her family needed a new stove and latrine, so Martha decided the program was a good fit for her family. “Our old stove was really small,” Martha explained. “There wasn’t enough room to prepare food. Now, I have space to cook.”

As for a latrine, Martha and her family were sharing one with her brother-in-law and his family. Now, they have their own latrine and it’s much easier to keep clean.

Maria also has a message for the volunteers who helped build her family’s stove and latrine: “Thank you for your support! We are very happy with our new stove and latrine.”

The Morales Family

María Morales initially decided to build a house in her community in Sololá, because her parents are getting older and she wanted them to have a comfortable place to live. María, who studied to be a secretary, works during the week in Guatemala City, but returns home often to spend time with her family and friends. But her community in Sololá is her home and she is committed to the community.

María isn’t the first person in her community to build a home by partnering with Habitat for Humanity Guatemala; several of her neighbors have done so as well and that is how she first learned it would be possible for her to own her own home.

Her mother, Antonia, loves her new home. Antonia speaks Kaqchikel, so her daughter-in-law translated her sentiments to Spanish. “Before, my husband Geronimo and I were living in a wooden house and it was very drafty,” Antonia shared. “Now I am warm at night and I can shut the door while I cook. I feel much more comfortable and happy.”

Because María spends the majority of her time in Guatemala City, her sister-in-law stepped up to help her through the process of building her home by taking care of paperwork and communicating with the Sololá Habitat Guatemala office. In this small village, the people take care of one another.

Though Antonia shares that she felt shy around the volunteers because of the language barrier, she appreciates that they came to Guatemala and helped build her new home. “I would like to see them again one day,” she said. “I hope they continue to support the people of Guatemala. They seemed so happy here and enjoyed playing with the kids. It was my first time meeting volunteers and it was so lovely.”

Healthy Home Kit: Juliana Panjoj

Juliana Panjoj lives with her husband, Roberto Peher, and their six children in the community in Sololá. While Juliana’s husband works in agriculture, she weaves, takes care of the home, and of the older children when they are home from school.

As part of Habitat for Humanity Guatemala’s Healthy Home Kit program, Juliana and her family were able to build a new latrine. Another woman who lives in her town works as a community volunteer with Habitat Guatemala and that is how Juliana first learned about the Healthy Home Kits.

“Our new latrine is so much better,” Juliana exclaims. “It’s more comfortable and more private, too!”

“We have never experienced anything like this before,” says Juliana of the volunteers who helped her family build the new latrine. “We want to thank you so much for helping our family build something we needed and that we use. We remember you all happily.”

The Velasquez Family

Arturo Valentino lives in Sololá, with his mother, sister, and brother-in-law. He owns a repair shop for cell-phones, computers, and tablets that is a short walk from the new home he built by partnering with Habitat for Humanity Guatemala. While Arturo spends his days running his busy shop, his mother, Angela, and his sister, Sandra, spend their time taking care of the home. Sandra’s husband works in local agriculture.

Prior to learning that Habitat Guatemala offers a low-interest loans to qualifying families, Arturo and his family rented a home in the same area. Now they are investing in their own future by paying a monthly mortgage instead of rent.

“Now I have more freedom!” Angela exclaims. “It’s much better than renting. I’m so happy to live in my own house and I’m going to plant flowers in the garden too.”

Arturo agrees with his mother. “We have more space and we’re much more comfortable,” he says. “We have a kitchen and a separate living room, too. I would like to thank the volunteers for their help, and may God bless them!”

Arturo in his technology repair shop.

The Juarcax Family

Carlos and Clementina Juarcax’s primary motivation to build a new home was for their three children: Carina, Elvis, and Eddi. When they learned about the low-interest loan that Habitat for Humanity Guatemala offers families, they knew that this was a way to make their dream a reality. In order to qualify for a Habitat Guatemala home, families have to be able to make monthly mortgage payments. Carlos works selling food and refreshments, so the family was able to make this commitment.

When the couple talks about their new home, their joy is obvious. “Before we all shared one bedroom,” Carlos explains. “Now, the boys share a room and Carina has her own room. They were so excited! She was especially excited to have her own room–they even picked them out while the house was under construction!”

“We moved into the house on September 28th,” he continues. “And we’ve worked hard to save and buy new furniture for our children, such as this couch.” Clementina jumps in and talks about how much she enjoys the style of the house. “It’s different than the other houses around here,” she says. “When people come over they always compliment our house, and we love it too! We are so proud and happy to be here.”

Carlos also has a message he would like to share with the volunteers who spent a week helping build their home: “Thank you so much for the help you gave us! We are so happy to live in our own house. May God bless you always!”