Migdalia Catalán family – Open Build – Mike Parker

Migdalia (36), is living with her three children, Oscar (18), Karla (16), and Génesis (7), in their new Habitat home in Cubulco, Baja Verapaz. Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, the family lived in a different department.

A few years ago, the family suffered a big car accident, and because of their injures they had to moved to Cubulco with Migdalia’s parents and they had to share a single room among the four. “After the accident we moved in with my mom and lived with her for a year. I did not have a house here, and remembered that my mom, aunts and other relatives built their house with Habitat.  That is why I decided to partner with Habitat and build our own house,” says Migdalia.  Their prime motivation to build a new home was for the family to start a new life after their accident, in a space of their own.

When asked how they feel about their new home, Migdalia smiles, and responds, ”I feel truly blessed. We now have a roof over our heads to live, we are still paying for it, but it is ours already! It is different to have our own space, everyone has their own space to do what they want.  What Migdalia enjoys the most of being at their home is being able to rest and spend time in their front yard enjoying nature, and taking care of their plants and flowers.

Regarding the week of construction spent with the volunteers, she answers, “It was a fun week!  We enjoyed our time together. Actually, my parents cried when they had to leave. They worked really hard the entire day digging trenches.”

The family finishes by sharing a message to the volunteers: “Thank you all for your support in building our home, receive our warmest greetings! We still remember about you all, and we always will.”

 

misraim gomez- Thrivent – Jason Carter

Evelyn (28), her husband, Misraim (29) and baby Emelyn (5 months), are living in their new Habitat home in Santa Elena, Petén.  Misraim works as a truck driver, while Evelyn is particular teacher and takes care of Emelyn.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, the small family used to live in a piece of land that Misraim mother handed to them. “It was a little bit difficult to live there because we did not have enough space, there were more of our relatives living next to us, and there was no option to expand,” says Evelyn.  They learned about Habitat Guatemala trough a friend, and after making some research, they decided to take the chance to build a house for their own, and start all over in a different place. “We found out about Habitat and when we started the process, we did not think it was going to be so fast! We got the approval and started building really quick,” says Evelyn.

When asked how she feels with her new home, Evelyn smiles and responds, ”We feel very happy and grateful. I feel calmed and at peace, to have our own space. Both of us feel content to be here now,” she continues, “We enjoy to be here and have our own space, our own time, here by ourselves. We are investing in something that will last a lifetime, for us and baby Emelyn.”

The family is planning to paint the house, add doors to the rooms, put a fence around the house and add a porch in the front in the future.

What Evelyn enjoys most about being at her home is that they are able to rest and be in calm with her family. “It is the project of every couple, we both have been working hard for it. Thanks to God, we had this opportunity. Our lives have changed in a big manner, we were not at the best point in the other place we were living, but in here it is our own space, no one can tell us what to do,” she says.

About their time spent with volunteers, Evelyn recalls, “It was a wonderful experience to share with all of the volunteers, even though it was a hard work what they came to do, they did it with passion and they never complained about it. I came here to work with them and was very impressed with how hard they worked, they motivated me to keep on going. I wished they could stay longer here with us.”

She finishes by sharing a message to the volunteers, “Thank you for your support, I encourage you to keep the good job! I wish we could be able to see you again. Thank you for being a part of our home! Receive our greetings and may God bless you!”

Isabel Córdova family – Thrivent – Jason Carter

Isabel and his wife Fidela, are the proud owners of a Habitat home in Santa Elena, Petén. Isabel works as a tour guide, while Fidela is in charge of the house chores.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, Isabel and Fidela used to live in rented houses for around 17 years, since they moved from the community they are both from (Cahoba) because of work . “We have been renting for several years, we moved here because of work, but after many years we decided to invest in a house of our own and quit paying rent, ” Isabel explains.

They learned about Habitat programs through one of Construred’s associates, who explained the process to them. After doing some research, they decided it was time to invest in their own house. “After many years of renting, we decided to start the process and to have our own house,” Isabel mentions.

When asked how they feel with their new home, Isabel answers, “We feel very content to know that now we are paying for our own house, no more rent! We are paying for something that belongs to us, it gives us hope,” Fidela adds, “I feel good and in calm in here.”

“We are grateful to Habitat, because they gave us the opportunity to build our house, we took advantage of it, and now it is a reality,” Isabel mentions.

In the future they are planning to add tiles to the floor and paint the house. Both Isabel and Fidela enjoy to rest in the hammocks in the hallway during the afternoon.

About their time spent with the volunteers they recall, “ It was very hard for them because they had to dig trenches and the ground here is very sticky and hard to work with, but they still managed to keep on working, it was a fun week with all of them.”

“Thank you all for giving your time and effort to support us. Please, feel welcome to visit us whenever you want to come back” – Isabel and Fidela.

Nespresso Water Filters – Jumaytepeque, Santa Rosa

Habitat Guatemala, in coordination with Nespresso, EFICO Foundation and FEDECOCAGUA, delivered 35 water filters and an educational workshop to the coffee cooperative La Nueva Era in the community of Jumaytepeque, Nueva Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa. 

The goal of this partnership is to improve the quality of life of several families dedicated to growing and harvesting coffee, through the implementation of water filters, in order to provide them with safe drinking water.

The lives of 35 families are going to change drastically thanks to the implementation of these filters. For several years, the community has needed to boil water or drink it directly from the sink, causing adults and children to suffer from gastrointestinal diseases.

Some of the beneficiares, Reyna García and Edwin Pérez, share their feelings now that they have received a water filter: 

 Many thanks to all of those who were involved in this project!

Yovanni López – Elastic – James McDonald

Yovanni (32) lives with his wife Yamileth (32), and their son, Harrison (8), in their new Habitat home in San Benito, Petén. Yovanny works as a delivery man for a cosmetics company, while Yamileth stays at home and runs a small tortilla shop from her home.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, the family used to live in the house of  Yamileth’s parents, and then, they starting renting a house for over six  years. They were paying a considerable amount without any chance of owning the house in the future. The prime motivation to build a new home, was that the family had their own space, “We thank my sister for her support, as she gave us with this piece of land and helped us to start with this process.  We had decided that we were going to build our house with local materials, and cover it with metal sheets pieces of wood,  or any other material in order to have our house. Later, we learned about Habitat through a mason who explained to us about the process,” says Yovanni.

He explains that after they learned about Habitat and had the opportunity to discuss about it, they finally decided to invest in a home. The family wanted more space, “We started the process and everyone was very supportive everytime I called to answer how the process was moving forward. When our application was approved, we were very happy!” explains Yovanni.

When asked how they feel about their new home, Yovanni smiles, and responds, ”I truly feel very happy! Since we started a new family with Yamileth, we were not able to afford our own house, and now we can say that this is ours! Our efforts today, will be the future of our child.” We have fulfill one of our dreams, one of many.” Yamileth adds, “I feel very content, it is not the same to rent than to own something of your own. To know that we are paying for something that belong to us, makes me happy!”

In the future, the family plans to paint the house, add an extra room, and a hallway in the front to place a hammock and rest in the afternoons. As a family, they enjoy spending time together. “We have a lot of plans for the house, we hope that we can accomplish them,” Yovanni continues, “Our life has improved in a big way. Now, we take extra care of it, we are planting fruit trees, and fixing the front yard too.”

When asked about the week of construction with the volunteers, he answers, “It was a great week. They worked really hard in digging the trenches, and they were suffering from the heat too. But, thanks to them we were able to advance further in the construction of our house, the masons were very pleased with their support, and all the work they did.”

The family finishes by sharing a message to the volunteers: “ We are very grateful to each one of you, thank you for your support in building this dream alongside us.  May God bless your path and your family.”

Edwin Artiga – Friends & Family – Saundra Catalina

Edwin (31) lives with one of his brothers, in their new Habitat home in Petén. Edwin works as a sales man.  Edwin’s mother, welcomed us into their home because he was at work and could not be present for our visit.

She shares that the family has known about Habitat Guatemala for many years: “This was the opportunity for my sons to achieve independence and have their own space,” she mentions.

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, they used to live with her mom and the rest of their family. When asked how Edwin feels with his new home, her mother shares, “He is very happy! Now, they have their own space,  and are more independent to do what they want.”

About the time the family spent with the volunteers, they recall, “It was a fun week, all the volunteers were hard workers, and despite the heat, they worked hard! They get sun burned but they did not care about it and just continued working. Now, our house is complete!”

She finishes by sharing a message to the volunteers; “Thank you all for your big support, all our family is grateful to each one of you. Receive our greetings!”

María Juracán family- Hybrid House Program – Trina Godfrey

María (58), her husband, Jesús (60) and their four grown daughters, Odilia (27),  Angélica (24), Aura (20) and Selena (19), are the proud owners of a new Hybrid House, in the municipality of Churunueles, Sololá. Don Jesús works in the fields and has recently been elected as the auxiliary mayor of the community. This title is given to elders that have supported their community and are respected individuals. María and her daughters stay at home and weave traditional clothes to sell.

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

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, María and her family used to live in a house built out of adobe blocks and wood; their kitchen was built with sugarcane stalk. They lived this way for over 34 years. “We were living in only one room; it was in poor conditions, almost uninhabitable,” says María.

María received a visit from the Habitat staff and she showed them her house and the way that they were living. The staff explained the program and that she was selected as one of the beneficiaries. “A few years ago, we learned about Habitat and applied, but could not afford a house. Later, when a promoter came visit us again and told us about this program, we were really happy to finally have our new home,” mentions María.

When asked how they feel with their new home,  María answers, “I feel very grateful and thrilled with our home! Now, our dream has become a reality and we can sleep in a safe space, without feeling cold. Our home is very pretty.” She continues, “My husband and I are old and now we do not have to worry about anything related to our house; it is safe for our daughters and their future too.”

By receiving this house, María explains that their lives have improved greatly because they no longer suffering from the cold during rainy season. They do not worry about getting respiratory diseases or any other ailment.

Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, María mentions, “These times have been complicated. We have lacked work, but having our house has made us feel safer. We have one thing less to worry about now. This house is well built; we do not have to worry about the rain or cold. During this pandemic we have enjoyed staying inside our house – the girls can play and enjoy themselves. While I’m cooking, they are playing in the room. We are all together and safe. ”

As part of the Hybrid House Programs, families also receive a smokeless stove, a water filter and a pila (outdoor washing station). This helps them improve their health by giving them adequate access to proper sanitation, potable water, and a smoke free environment. The family no longer suffers from gastrointestinal problems thanks to their water filter. Now, it is easier and safer to drink potable water from the filter. Regarding the stove, María used to cook over an open flame, causing the smoke to stay inside their house, “The old stove made my eyes feel irritated, and my lungs hurt too. I have been cooking like that since I was a little girl. Now, I feel happy to cook on the new stove… it is very big!” says María.

María finishes by sharing a message to the donors, “Tiox! We are very grateful to God and each one of you. We do not know how many sacrifices you have made in order to support us. Thank you for giving us this gift, our precious home! I wish I could get to know you and thank you in person, that is why I am sending my greetings and regards to each one of you and your families.” She finishes, “I am sure, God will repay you for your support.”

Leonel García family – Hybrid House Program – Trina Godfrey

Emilsa, (25), her husband, Leonel (32), and their two children, Anjory (9), and Anderson (2), are the proud owners of a new Hybrid House, in the municipality of San Andrés Semetabaj, Sololá. While Leonel works as a mason, Emilsa stays at home, taking care of the children and house chores.

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

Before partnering with Habitat Guatemala, Emilsa mentioned that she and her family used to live in a house built out of corrugated metal sheets with dirt flooring. They all shared just one room, where they slept and cooked in the same space. “It was a rough living like that, especially for my children. My husband and I could not afford to build a better house for them. We were living in that room for almost 3 years. Before that, we were renting, but could not afford to pay rent anymore,” says Emilsa.

One day, Emilsa received a visit from Habitat staff. She showed them her house and the way that they were living. The staff explained the program and that she was selected as one of the beneficiaries. “One of the Habitat promotors came to visit and at first I was not 100% sure if it was true. After sometime, he came to visit again, and we decided to believe it was true… and it was!” says Emilsa.

When asked how they feel with their new home,  Emilsa answers, “I feel so happy and grateful to finally have a safe space for my children. We now have a kitchen and our own room.” She continues, “It is a blessing that people want to support us, especially during these difficult times regarding COVID-19. Now we have our house!” She continues, “In our old house, we suffered from cold. During rainy season was the most difficult time because the water entered the house and it caused damage; the metal sheets had holes and the dirt floor turned to mud.”

Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Emilsa mentions, “These times have been complicated, we have had lack of work and other things, but having our house has made us feel safer, especially for my children. We have one thing less to worry about now, because this house belongs to us. We do not have to worry about paying rent, nor about the rain, cold, or sun.”

As part of the Hybrid House Programs, families also receive a smokeless stove, a sanitary latrine, a water filter, and a pila (outdoor washing station). This helps them improve their health by giving them adequate access to proper sanitation, potable water, and a smoke free environment. The family has felt a difference with their  new water filter. Before, they drank water directly from the sink, which caused them to suffer from gastrointestinal distress. Now, it is easier and safer to drink potable water from the filter. Regarding their stove, Emilsa mentions, “With my new stove, I can save wood and cook everything at the same time.”

Emilsa finishes by sharing a message to the donors, “I want to give thanks to God, and all of the people that decided to support us, even though you do not know us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. May God give back to you twice as much as you have given to us. In the name of all my family, thank you for this gift.”