Across Mimia Cuc Tzep’s yard stands a crumbling adobe structure. The foundation is filled with holes and bordered by splintered wooden timbers. There are no window panes, and the roof is in disrepair. “It is an ancient, 20-year-old house. There was no electricity or running water. The roof was bad. There were leaks. When it rained, we suffered. There was so much need for a new house.”
Mimia (42) explains the house’s history in K’iche’, an indigenous language spoken throughout the area. Both she and her brother, Diego, were determined to improve their conditions. Through a local committee, they discovered Habitat for Humanity Guatemala. “They said to him that Habitat Guatemala helps build housing solutions with people like us. If we wanted to build, we could.”
Together, they made sure to gather the materials they needed. “It took two months to arrange all of the paperwork. We worked hard for that paperwork, because we knew the need that we faced.”
Since moving into their new home, both Mimia and Diego’s lives have changed. Mimia is especially content at having a space to call her own. “It’s more calm, because it’s bigger. There are more possibilities here, more time do more things.”A spotted cat without a name winds between ankles, soft mews fluttering with each flick of her tail. Mimia tosses the cat a piece of bread, which is gobbled voraciously. “Even the cat is happy!” she exclaims delightedly.
When asked about the group that came to provide volunteer support, Mimia gushes. “We give them so much thanks, to them and God. I have said that He sent brothers to support my family and me.” Her message to them? “Thank you for your support. We always think of you. You are always welcome, and we are grateful for the support you gave our family.”
Both have thought about future plans for the house. Expansion is in the works, although they want to pay off the loan from the current house. Mimia makes a request for the same group that came to help her build her new house. “If we ever build again, I want you to come build with me!”