Florencia Socom – Hybrid House Program

Florencia and her 5 children, Rosaura (16), Milsia (13), Ismael (11), Aroldo (8), and Josué (17), are the proud owners of a new Hybrid House, in the municipality of Las Canoas Altas, San Andrés Semetabaj, Sololá. Milsia is a single mother who works as a cleaning lady in different houses. The youngest children are going to school and the oldest work in different field activities.

Florencia and her family are part of our new Hybrid House Program, which is a two room home built with a mix of traditional materials: adobe blocks, cement blocks, and wood.

Quick facts about the new Hybrid Home:

1. At just $3,300 USD, it costs less than half the price of a standard HFHG home.

2. The home is partially subsidized, acknowledging that the population we are serving does not have access to an income that would allow them to pay a mortgage. The family contributes sweat equity, creating the adobe blocks as well as participating in the construction of their new home.

3. The structure can be built in a time frame of approximately a two weeks.

4. This is a new effort to support the sector of the population that is living in the poorest conditions.

5. To date, the pilot program has consisted of a total of four houses.

As previously explained, this solution is partially subsidized which means that beneficiary families are asked to contribute towards the cost of materials, provide unskilled labor such as preparing the adobe blocks, among other tasks.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, Florencia mentioned that her and her family used to live in a house built out of metal roof sheets, sharing just one room for all of them. Another room was used for the kitchen. “The old house was different, because it was built with metal sheets, we felt very cold during winter and very hot during summer, it had a lot of holes where the wind got in,” shares Florencia.

One day she received a visit from Habitat staff, Florencia showed them her house and the way they were living. The staff explained to Florencia about the program and that she was selected as one of the beneficiaries. “I was surprised because it all happened really fast. In a couple of months, we were already building our new home with my children! The adobe blocks were hard to make at the beginning but then we got used to it. All my children were a part of the construction process, and it was fun.” – Florencia.

When asked how they feel with their new home, Florencia smiles and answers, “We feel happy, happy to have our home now! I am very grateful to everyone who supported us. I do not know what else to say to except to express my gratitude and happiness. We are now able to live at peace with my children, without worrying about feeling cold anymore.” In the future, this family is planning to add flowers and trees around the house, to make it look even prettier!

Florencia finishes by sharing a message to the donors and volunteers, “May you all receive our gratitude, Thanks to God and to all of you who supported us. As a single mother it has been a hard road, I felt alone. And you coming to support me, makes me feel I am not alone anymore. Thank you!

Emiliana García – Twin Cities – Noah Keller

Emiliana is a single mother living with her six children, Ana (24), María (21), Verónica (20), Joselyn (18), David (16), Vilma (13), and her grandchildren Nelson (2), in their new Habitat home in San Juan Ostuncalco, Quetzaltenango. Emiliana works as a housekeeper, and also sells fresh cow milk around town every morning.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala to build her home, Emiliana and her family lived in an adobe house for 23 years; it was in poor conditions. “All of us shared only one room, we all slept together, the ceiling leaked when it rained and we suffered from colds.” Emiliana learned about Habitat through her employer, who also has a Habitat house. After doing some research and speaking with all her children, they decided to invest together for a better future.

When asked how she feels with her new home, Emiliana smiles and responds, “I feel happy! Very very happy, in my Habitat home! It is all I wanted, a safe and comfortable space to sleep, to rest in peace. Everyone has their own bed, their own space,” she continues, “Thanks to Habitat for their support and for helping me fulfil this dream.” What Emiliana and her children enjoy most about being at home is, “…to rest, being able to feel at peace inside.”

Regarding the week of construction shared with the volunteers, Emiliana shares; “They are hard workers! We advanced a lot with the construction process because of their help. We shared a lot of laughs and happy memories too.”

She finishes by sharing a message to the volunteers, “Receive all our love and greetings! Thank you for your support. May God bless you.”

Viviana Monterroso – HFH Memphis – Cameron Sanford

Vivian and her son, Ismar (5) are the proud owners of a new Habitat home in San Juan Ostuncalco, Quetzaltenango. Vivian works as a teacher at the public town school, and Ismar is in first grade.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, the family used to live with Vivian’s parents. “I was living with my parents, and then I decided to build this house, to have a better future for my son, Ismar,” says Vivian. She learned about Habitat Guatemala’s programs through her parents, who are also owners of a Habitat home.

When asked how she feels with their new home, Vivian answers, “I feel very happy, content to have a place to live in the future with Ismar. A space just for the two of us.” In the future Vivian would like to add tiles to the floor, recessed ceiling and paint the walls of the house.

When asked about the time shared with the volunteers, Mausebio, Vivian’s father, recalls, “We felt happy to welcome them and work together.”

They finished by sharing a message to the volunteers, “Thank you all for your support. We will always carry you in our hearts. Feel welcome to come and visit us whenever you come back. May God bless you.” Vivian adds: “May God bless you all, thank you!”

Ronald Aguilar – Maumee Valley HFH – Willie Nemeth

Ronald, his wife, Jazmín, and their two children, Ronald (4), and Liam (4 months), are now living in their new Habitat home in San Juan Ostuncalco, Quetzaltenango. Ronald works as a security guard, while María takes care of the household chores and raises their children.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, Ronald mentions that they used to live in a house that belonged to his mother, “All this land belongs to my parents, so when they distributed it we received the plot of land where we built the new house.” He continues, “This was one of the main reasons that we built our own home. The other house was given to my sister, and we had no place to live.” Ronald explains that they learned about Habitat Guatemala’s programs through one of his siblings. After doing some research, they decided it was time to invest in a space of their own.

When asked how they feel with their new home, Ronald smiles and answers, “We feel at peace! we love it here. It’s very calm. We can do whatever we want here, in our own space. Ronald can play safe and happy!”

Ronald explains that what they enjoy most as a family is, “… playing with my boys! Because of my work I am often not at home. So, when I come back, we enjoy our time together.” He continues, “Our life has changed on many levels. For example, at the old house, we did not have running water. Ronald constantly got sick because it was too cold. Now, it is completely different! We have running water, the house is comfortable and Ronald is not getting sick anymore. As I mentioned before, we feel at peace.”

When asked about the time shared with the volunteers the family recalls, “They were really kind! All of them formed a great connection with my family, especially my mom. They all played with Ronald, too!”

He finished by sharing a message to the volunteers, “Thank you all for your support! We are grateful for you and your visit. We are looking forward to seeing you in the future. Please feel welcome to come visit! You came in the moment when we needed it the most. We urgently needed to finish our home, and you made it possible.”

Saulo Alonzo – Bryan College – Jane Sherman

Saulo (32), his wife, Rocío (28), and their two girls, Alisson (6), and Gabriela (2), are now living in their new Habitat home in San Juan Ostuncalco, Quetzaltenango. Saulo works as a credit advisor and Mirna works in a pharmacy.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, the family used to live in Saulo’s parents house: one small room for the four of them. “It was hard to decide to start building our house. I had plans to migrate to the United States to work. Then, I was given a job here and we could afford this piece of land. So, my wife and I decided to build, whiel our girls are still little,” explains Saulo.

The family found out about the opportunity through one of Habitat Guatemala’s promoters, “I have known Santos for a while now. He talked to me about the programs and requirements. That is why we decided to jump into this adventure!” shares Saulo.

When asked how they feel with their new home, Saulo answers, “We feel happy! We are in a nicer environment, we are comfortable. Everyone has their own space; we also have the opportunity to harvest here.”

In the future, the family is planning to add ceramic floor and doors to each room. What they enjoy the most as a family in their new home is, “We play with the girls and as a family we like to exercise! So on the weekends, we play inside, play in the backyard and also go for long walks,” mentions Saulo.

“As a family our lives have changed a lot, now that we are living in our home. Our prime motivation are our daughters.”

When asked about the time shared with the volunteers Saulo recalls, “They worked really hard! It was a great experience. They came here solely to help us, without asking for anything in return,” he continues, “as a family, we would like to follow your example in the future.”

“We are very grateful to each one of you. We send our greetings! We hope that you will continue supporting and helping other people. May God bless you.”

Kevin Castillo – Johnson High School – Leslie Helman

Kevin (27), his wife Maribel, (23), and their two girls, Scarlett (1), and Ashley (7), are the happy owners of a new Habitat home in San Juan, Quetzaltenango. Kevin works as a truck driver while Maribel takes care of the children and house chores.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, Kevin mentions that they lived for six years at his parent’s house, sharing only one room. “We found out about Habitat programs through an aunt who built a house with Habitat. Also, my grandparents have a Habitat home.” He continues, “that is why we decided to build with Habitat, to continue the family tradition, and also because my father gifted us with a piece of land to build.”

When asked how they feel with their new home, Kevin answers, “I feel content, because we know that we are paying for something that belongs to us. In the future we are planning to add a second story.” Maribel adds; “I feel happy because I have my own space, I can do what I want here. I enjoy every single part of it!” What the family enjoys the most in their new home is being able to play with their daughters, in their own space.

About the time spent with the volunteers the family recalls, “We had a fun week! The volunteers worked really hard – everyone of them.” They finish by sending a message: “Thank you all for your support! We will always cherish the memories shared. We will have you in our heart forever.”

 

Gabriel Mazariegos – GuaBuildja – Marijee Minderop

Gabriel (24) and his fiancé, Adayansi Reyes (20), are the happy owners of a new Habitat home in San Juan, Quetzaltenango. Gabriel works as a tuc tuc driver and Adayansi owns a beauty salon. The couple is planning on getting married soon!

“We found out about Habitat programs through my dad, he told me: “son, build your house before you get married, so you can have your own space and no one will bother you; And so we did.” – Gabriel. That is why this young couple, partnered with Habitat Guatemala to build their home and start their own family; to have a space to call their own.

“My biggest wish is to keep our families united; to maintain a relationship with my parents and with Adayansi’s parents, because family is important,” he continues, “I am grateful to my father and father–in-law. They both have helped us a lot. My father gave us the land, and my father-in-law, who is a mason, helped us place the floor and the ceiling,” Gabriel mentions.

When asked how they feel about their new home, Gabriel answers, “To be honest, I feel a little nervous, but exited to start this new journey with my fiancé,” he continues, “We feel joyful. Since the beginning of the process until it was finished and ready to move. We feel very happy!” Adayansi adds, “I feel grateful to have made our dream a reality. Thanks to Habitat for their support,” she continues, “I say to Gabriel that we are going to start from zero, just the two of us, and it makes me happy, to think of planning our family.”

In the future, the family is planning to add a garden in the front yard due to Adayansi’s  love  for plants and flowers, fence around the house and plant a lemon tree as the same as they have in Gabriel’s parents’ home. And of course, in a couple of years, a big family, with children running all around the house! “One of my biggest dreams is to marry Adaynasi and have children with her, because I would love to watch them grow here!”

Regarding the time that the family spent with the volunteers, both Adayansi and Gabriel recall, “It was a good experience, because I had not had the chance to meet people from another country. They were very kind, full of joy and hard workers! Our house was built faster thanks to them.” Adayansi adds, “They are willing to help others without getting anything in return. In just a week, we felt like family among them.”

They conclude their story by sending a message to the volunteers: “Thank you all for your support! I am very grateful to all. May God bless you. We may not get to see you again soon, but we will always remember you.” Gabriel adds, “From the bottom of my heart thank you! As we say in Guatemala, they were ¡Buena onda! (cool people). We look forward to seeing you soon. We now have these memories to cherish and tell our children in the future; that their home was built by people from the Netherlands, Dank u wel.”

Angélina García – GuaBuildja – Marijee Minderop

Angelina, her mother Enriqueta (92), and her children, Juan Carlos (11), Rudy (17), Ana María and her grandson Gudiel (2), are now living in their new Habitat home in San Juan Ostuncalco, Quetzaltenango. Angelina works as a janitor in the municipality.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, Angelina mentions that they used to live in a Habitat house, built by her mother Enriqueta, over 20 years ago! “We needed more space, and that is why I decided to build a new one, for each of us to have our own space,” says Angelina.

When asked how they feel with their new home, Angelina smiles and answers, “We feel happy to have a prettier and bigger house now. Everyone has their own bed and I have my own kitchen!” Angelina is planning to paint the house “bright orange” in the future.

When asked about the time shared with the volunteers, the family recalls, “It was a fun week! all of them were hard workers. We are grateful to them for their support,” she continues, “Thank you. May God bless you!”