#Myhabitatexperience – María Rosa Reyes

Hello! My name is María Rosa, Im 30 years old, born and raised in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala and have been working with Habitat Guatemala for over 9 years! I am currently in charge of IRD communications.

Why Habitat Guatemala?

Because Habitat provides families with different tools to improve their quality of life, it is not a paternalistic NGO at the contrary, families that we work with have to always give something back, and for me that is the best way to improve the country, if everyone shares a part of the work. My former boss, don Luis (RIP) “show them how to prepare the tortilla, do not just handle it to them.” Adding to that, the fact that there are still many people helping others to improve, gives me hope in humanity.

What do you like the most about your position?

What I love the most about my job is being able to visit all our partner families in their new homes or with their new housing solutions and being able to witness how their lives have improved. They joy and proud reflected in their faces, that for me, is what gives meaning to my job. Being able to witness the mixture of cultures when our GV volunteers come to build with Guatemalan families and share with them our culture is one of my favorite things to do!

A message to the Habitat community

Thank you all for your continuos support to Habitat Guatemala. During these years I have met so many wonderful people! I hope to continue working with all of you in order to build a better Guatemala!

Anabela Iscun Yac – In Memory of Hugh Wyatt – HHK

Anabela (29) and her children, Karla ( 16, Berli (10) and Jeymi (8) have a daily ritual. Together, they will congregate in the kitchen to prepare three meals for their family. For a long while, Anabela says, their cooking equipment was far from ideal. The family stove, decades old, was falling apart. “There were a lot of problems with the bottom and the grill,” she explains.  “The old one was made out of dirt and was very, very small. It used way too much wood.”

She cites that the old stove posed many health problems for her family. “Because of the smoke, we had a lot of lung issues, and we always burned ourselves.”

Since Habitat Guatemala volunteers built her new stove, Anabela is thrilled with the results. Excitedly, she explains that, “The new one uses less wood, is easy to use, and doesn’t let off as much smoke.”

A new stove is not the only thing Anabela have benefited from. As part of Habitat Guatemala´s Healthy Home Kit Program, they were also latrine and water filter recipients. Anablea cites that the new latrine is a great improvement. “Our old latrine was made of bamboo rods. It didn’t offer a lot of privacy and was farther away from the house,” she says. “The new one is made well. It’s dry, easy to use. There aren’t any problems with smell or with sturdiness.”

As for water? Since switching to a water filter, Anabela has noticed that her family’s health has measuredly improved. Before, all five of them suffered from daily stomach problems, mainly to using a tinaja, or a large earthenware jug that is commonly used to store liquids in rural areas of Guatemala. Anabela also doesn’t have to boil water anymore and is happy with the facility of using a filter.

When asked about the group that came to build the stove and latrine, Anabela face brightens. “We thank you so much for your support. We hope that you continue to help serve families like ours. Thank you.”

Josefina García – In Memory of Hugh Wyatt – HHK

 

Josefina (36), mother of two children, Axel (9) and Dayana (4) and proud owner of a Healthy Home Kit, has lived in this community of Cienaga Grande, Sololá her entire life. She cares for her house while her husband, Dani, is away working at a major farm down the road. Since she was a girl, Josefina has used a stove to support her family.

However, like most women in Guatemala, Josefina has used an ineffective and dangerous stove for decades. When asked about her previous stove, she recalls the many issues with its construction. “Our old stove was crooked, and because of that, a lot of smoke would come out and flood the house. The smoke would also stay in the house, and it was impossible to air out our rooms when that happened.” Access to clean air was also out of the question. “The stove always affected our health; we couldn’t breathe at all inside our house.”

After receiving materials to build a new stove, Josefina’s family has already witnessed several positive economic and health changes. “Since building the stove, we have cut back a lot on paying for wood. Now, we only need a little to heat up the entire grill and to cook our food. We can put three or four pots on top and cook for the entire family. For every two pieces of wood, that’s four pots of food for a whole family.”

Josefina also notes that the water filter and latrine have contributed to a change in routine. Rather than boiling her water, she can readily access the supply in her filter and doesn’t have to worry about falling ill from waterborne diseases. She is also pleased with her family’s latrine, which is made of stone blocks and wooden beams. “Since building the latrine, we feel happier and cleaner. The air is pure, and we have a private space where there wasn’t one before.”

When asked about the group that came to build the stove and latrine, Josefina answers. “We had a great time sharing with all the volunteers, we worked together, had lunch too and took photos. We thank all of them for their support and wish them well.”

María Cardona Family – Hybrid House Program – Home for a Home

María (30), and her four children, Aura (13), Haroldo (12), Santos (10) and baby Omar (1), are the owners of a new Hybrid House in the community of Chelam, San Sebastián, Huehuetenango. María is a single mother, who weaves traditional clothes to later sell them at the market during market daysthat she sells at the market.

Our new Hybrid House solution is a two-room home built with a mix of traditional materials: adobe blocks, cement blocks, and wood. This solution is partially subsidized which means that beneficiary families are asked to contribute towards the cost of materials and provide labor such as preparing adobe blocks, among other tasks.

Before partnering with Home for a Home and Habitat Guatemala, María’s family used to live at her parents’ house, in one small room built out of adobe blocks, wood and dirt flooring. That house is was also shared with more than seven relatives. When asked how she feels about her new home, María answers, “I feel happy to have our own house. We are able to do what we want, we have more space too; we feel safe and content with it.”

As part of the Hybrid House Programs, families also receive a latrine and a smokeless stove. This helps them improve their health by giving them adequate access to proper sanitation and a smoke free environment. María used to cook over an open fire on the floor. The new smokeless stove will help them improved their the families health, since the smoke is no longer inside their house. Previously, the family did not own a latrine and would to go to the woods. Now, that they have a safe and hygienic place for their basic needs.

María finishes by sharing a message with the our donors, “Thank you for providing us with our home! I feel content with it! May God bless you.”

 

 

 

 

 

Juana Ordóñez Family – Hybrid House Program – Home for a Home

Juana Andrés (38), and his six children, Juana (19), Hilda (13), Juliana (10), Marta (7), Angélica (5), Oscar (3) and baby Elsy are the owners of a new Hybrid House in the community of Chelam, San Sebastián, Huehuetenango. Juana is a single mother, who works in the lands nearby harvesting coffee and potato.

Our new Hybrid House solution is a two-room home built with a mix of traditional materials: adobe blocks, cement blocks, and wood. This solution is partially subsi-dized which means that beneficiary families are asked to contribute towards the cost of materials and provide labor such as preparing adobe blocks, among other tasks.

Before partnering with Home for a Home and Habitat Guatemala, the family used to live in a small room that was used to sleep and to cook on an open fire. The small room was built with adobe walls, ground floor and acai in the roof.

When asked how they feel about their new home, Juana answers, “I feel content with our new house, it is an opportunity to improve and have a safe space for my children, to no longer suffer from cold.”

Juana explains that their lives have improved greatly with this new home because they no longer have to sleep in one room, with the rain water leaking and suffering cold.

As part of the Hybrid House Programs, families also receive a latrine and a smokeless stove. This helps them improve their health by giving them adequate access to proper sanitation and a smoke-free environment.

Juana finishes by sharing a message with the donors, “Thank you for your support, by providing us with this house. We feel happy.”

 

 

 

 

Gregorio Cardona Family – Hybrid House Program – Home for a Home

Rogelio (40), and his seven children Lucinda (18), Danilo (16), Daniel (14), Mateo (12), Byron (7), Carolina (5) and baby Paola (2), are the owners of a new Hybrid House in the community of Chelam, San Sabastian, Huehuetenango. Rogelio’s wife died a few months ago, and now, Rogelio is taking care of his six children, while working at the fields or different day jobs that he finds in the communities nearby.

Our new Hybrid House solution is a two-room home built with a mix of traditional materials: adobe blocks, cement blocks, and wood. This solution is partially subsi-dized which means that beneficiary families are asked to contribute towards the cost of materials and provide labor such as preparing adobe blocks, among other tasks. Before partnering with Home for a Home and Habitat Guatemala, Rogelio and his family used to live in a small house built out of adobe blocks and wood with ground floor, which now serves as the kitchen,” says Rogelio.

When asked how they feel about their new home, Rogelio answers, “I feel very grateful for our home, it will remain in time for my children and next generations as a reminder in honor of their mother. For me, this house is like a mother for them and for me. A mother that takes care of us, I know that we are safe, as soon as we go inside it protect us from the rain, from the wind.”

As part of the Hybrid House Programs, families also receive a latrine and a smokeless stove. This helps them improve their health by giving them adequate access to proper sanitation and a smoke-free environment. Rogelio’s wife used to cook on an open flame on the floor, causing the smoke to stay inside their house. “Our new stove is perfect! I feel proud of my products, now the smoke goes directly outside,” says Rogelio.

When asked which is his favorite part of the house, he smiles and answers; “We love everything about our house, we enjoy to spend time together and listen to music”. Rogelio finishes by sharing a message with the donors, “May all of you receive our greetings. I am grateful to God and to you for providing us with our house. May God bless you! I encourage you to continue supporting families like ours.”