Nazario Reyes Family

Nazario and Cedelina are proud parents to five adult children. The couple recently retired and to make ends meet, Nazario helps at a local laboratory in San Miguel. The couple is active in their church and Cedelina, who has been a homemaker for many years, spends her time on committees and visiting her children and grandchildren. With their children all grown up and not living with them, “there’s nothing to clean” Cedelina says and laughs as she realizes that she too, is retired.

Their children visit occasionally, and their two youngest grandchildren spend the summers with them. When asked about their favorite part of the house, Cedelina says it’s having enough space for family gatherings. She also shares how much her guests comment on the house, how beautiful it is and especially the natural light that flows throughout. One of their daughters has even wanted to learn more about building a house through Habitat after seeing her parent’s house for the first time.

For Nazario, his favorite part is the house’s structure and design—”this house is well built” she says. Nazario shared that in their old house, they worried whether the roof would collapse each time there was an earthquake, as it was not well built. There were also tarantulas that would enter the house, which the couple were uncomfortable with as the spiders are venomous. “Because our house is now so well built, we have a strong roof and we haven’t seen any spiders inside.” The couple enjoys having their Habitat house for their peace of mind.

As for plans, they’d like to put a fence around the house and to take advantage of the opportunity to expand the house once they’ve paid off half of their debt.

“For me it’s beautiful how Habitat conducts its business, because they give people who wouldn’t have the money to build a house the opportunity to build and they include volunteers.  Even for the volunteers who didn’t speak Spanish, there was a translator that we could all communicate and interact,” says Nazario.

To the volunteers, Nazario and Cedelina send sincere thanks, “Thank you for coming to San Miguel. I give thanks to God and to you for coming—I hope that God will bless each of you and take care of you and bless you with good health. We have you in your hearts and I always think about you. I hope that if you come another time to our home that you will come and say hello!” Cedelina says. “They were very kind. When they were finishing the house, they asked for my number so we could stay in touch on WhatApp but I don’t have a telephone” Cedelina continues and smiles, “it was very kind of them and made me happy that they wanted to stay connected.” “Having them here made us very happy—it was a beautiful experience. Thank you for coming,” adds Nazario.

Oscar González Family

Oscar his wife, Jessica and their 3 children, Fatima(8), Sebastian(4) and Leo Fernando(2) live in the town of Rincón de Jesús, Baja Verapaz. Oscar is a security guard and Jessica is a homemaker.  Prior to building their Habitat home, the family lived in the countryside and wanted a house closer to town to get their daughter Fatima to school more easily. “Here it’s only 15 minutes to the center of town. Even the most basic necessity, if she needs it for an assignment, we can get it and don’t spend time or money on transportation” says Oscar.

There are lots of things the family enjoys about the house, “we have a great space, especially for the kids to live and play and have 4 rooms for each of them and for us.”  The family’s prior house was made of adobe and when it rained, the floor inside their house turned to mud because it lacked proper flooring and the roof leaked often. “Having this house has helped us a lot, it’s been a great benefit.” says Oscar. It’s also a change in environment. In our old house, we were surrounded by pure nature, with lots of fresh air, but here we are surrounded by more people and have a better quality of life.”

When asked about the volunteers, Oscar remembers and sends greetings to the whole group. “It was a great help and the kids had a lot of fun with them.” More than anything, thank you for the help you came to give my family because it has helped us a lot.”

Saúl Galindo Family

Saul and Olga Galindo and their two children, Axel Javier (7), Adriel Yamilet (2) live in Cuidad Vieja, Antigua. Saul works at a furniture store and Olga works at a farm-to-table restaurant nearby.

“We learned about Habitat through my brother in law.” says Saul. After making the decision to build, Saul couldn’t get the time off from work to be a part of building the home. “I had to work during the week we were building, and Olga was here with the children and the volunteers.” He remembers coming to the build site each day after work and marveling at the progress made by the volunteers, “it was beautiful” he shared.

Their previous home was still in construction while they rented it and the couple shared that it was cold because it was unfinished. “In this house, we are warm inside.” “Our favorite part of everything is it’s well distributed,” says Olga, “each part of the house has its function, and the bedrooms are large enough for the children to sleep, we like having our own rooms as well.”

They spoke highly of their experience with Habitat and with the volunteers. Yes, we remember the volunteers, especially Taco they said! They had  a group photo and shared about their wonderful interactions, “they were very kind to us.” “First, we’d like to say thank you for everything you’ve done, for the help that you gave us, it has helped us a lot and it’s meaningful that you came to give a hand in this way, because it would have been very hard to do all this alone,” they said.

Of their experience with Habitat the couple said, “we love the plans that Habitat have. This house is a cost that we wouldn’t be able to afford. What we love about Habitat is that they help a lot of people in this way.”

Norma Miculash Family

Norma Miculash, her husband Javier and children, Haniel, Jose Juan and Amaya live in the town of Buena Vista, Chimaltenango. Norma is a homemaker and sells beauty products from her home, while Javier sells goods in the Market in Antigua.
Norma and Javier were gifted the land they now live on by Norma’s mother. A few months later, they came across Habitat “we learned what requirements were needed,” and the couple decided to build their house.
“Before we lived in my mother’s house but there were more than twelve of us,  and we needed our own space for our family. My brothers have their shop adjacent to the house, so it didn’t have the privacy we needed for our family.” “Here” she says, speaking of her new house, “we feel much more at peace.”  As they have settled into their home, there are many things they enjoy about the new place.  As their family grows, their dream is to add a second story, paint the house, add a little garden and to plant some seeds.
When asked about the group who helped them build, Norma smiled, “we remember the volunteers very well, they came for a week, almost everyone who came were related through family, or through church.” she shares. “My husband and I are so grateful for you and for the work of your hands. It’s something that not everyone does; you came to lift your hands and to do a work that many others would not do,” says Norma.
Norma also shares that her family received a rather unexpected gift from the volunteers. Her son, Jose has delayed motor functions. One of the volunteers, a pastor, connected Norma and her family to a church organization that sponsored Juan’s doctor’s fees to cover physical therapy sessions. As a result, they keep to regularly scheduled visits, rather than having to delay his visits as they did before receiving this help. Norma speaks with optimist as she holds back tears, touched by the gesture of help for improving her son’s health. “We are so grateful for you.” She says, “how can we ever forget you.”

Smokeless Stove: Brenda Ixlá


Brenda Leticia, her husband Adalberto along with their two children Mailey (11) and Kaily (6) live in the community of Santa Izabel, Chimaltenango. One year after having her Habitat stove installed by a team of volunteers, we spoke with Brenda to find out what difference her smokeless stove has made for her family. These were her words:
“I’ve lived in this community for 31 years, my whole life. Before I cooked on a “pollo” (an open flame stove) on the ground.” The stove caused me to cough a lot and affected my lungs, now it’s much better because the smoke leaves and goes outside.”

When asked about the difference between her old and her new stove, she says, “the difference is heating– I can heat a lot of things at once—(the new stove) is only one fire but I can cook 4 different things at once—before I had to cook them one at a time.” The stove has three “burners” that allows the singular heat source below to heat the wide surface above.

Her favorite thing to cook is the traditional soup, caldo—”why?” we ask—and she explains, the pot used to cook caldo is large because it feeds her entire family; this includes her immediate family of four and extended relatives – twenty-six people in all. This large pot of soup took two hours to make, “now it takes 30 minutes,” she says. To the volunteers Brenda offered thoughtful words of gratitude. “First, thank you to you and also to our community leaders who worked closely with Habitat to get these stoves to our community. I never imagined that I’d have something like this.”


Alejandra Perón Family

Alejandra and Alexander live with their two children Dio (7) and Kimberly (3) in the town of Colonia Santa Isabel, Chimaltenango. They shared that prior to building their house through Habitat, “we lived in a house with 3 families; twelve people in total.” “There, we were in small spaces and we couldn’t do what we wanted because the house wasn’t our own.” With the new change that the new home has brought the children now have a bedroom and as husband and wife, Alejandra and Alexander have a room of their own. “Here we can do what we want, the children have space to run around–we feel very happy with the house.

When asked about any changes they’d like to make to the house the couple shared, “having this house has made us dream–we’d love to add a second storey, add a wall around the house and start a garden but for now, we’re content.”

To the group of volunteers who came, Alejandra and Alexander remarked, “we could not have done this so quickly without them. The process was fast, two months in total, but their visit made things go faster. Thanks for your help to our family”.

Smokeless Stove: María Carmela Patzan

Maria Carmela and her family have lived in their current home for 40 years. She lives with her husband and four children Leida (23), Erica (22), Neihmer (15) and Brialey (6) in the town of Santa Izabel, Chimaltenango.

Recently, they received a wood-efficient stove through Habitat. Previously they had cooked on an open flame adobe stove. “We suffered a lot of smoke,” says Maria Carmela, “the smoke made me cry and now, it does not.”

When asked about her favorite dish to cook, “pepian” she says. It’s a traditional dish made of tomatoes and various spices. Her children and husband all agree, Maria Carmela’s pepian is the family’s favorite, and the dish wouldn’t be complete without her homemade tortillas. To the group of volunteers, Maria Carmen and her family have this message “A great thank you because we are better off because of it” They are grateful that each volunteer came to demonstrate their support and have made their lives better.

Smokeless Stove: Rosa Cuc

Rosa Marina Cuc Pérez and her family of four have lived in her home for the past six years. She has had her smokeless stove for more than 6 months now and says she’s still getting re-accustomed to using it. Just recently, Rosa Marina’s father became sick and she left home to take care of him. She has now returned home full time.
Before having her smokeless stove, Rosa cooked on an open fire “pollo” stove made of adobe and wood. The smoke from the old stove affected her nose, eyes and throat and caused a lot of coughing.

She says the kids are especially becoming accustomed to the change and her son says it often, “Mama there isn’t smoke.”

She says it saves a lot of wood and now she can cook multiple items at once—”before I would cook my tamale, atoll, tortillas. Now I can cook it all on one fire because there are three burners”.

To the volunteers who came to build, Rosa Marina is grateful, she has the photo the left with her and sends this message to the group, “thank you for helping us. When you started to construct I could see you were beautiful people in the way you were hardworking. I’m so grateful for the stove because now the smoke doesn’t affect us. It has helped us a lot. I hope that God will bless and watch over you—thank you.”