The de Jesus Garcia Family

“We lived in a house over there.” In the early afternoon sunlight, Leidy (21) balances her nine-month-old son, Denis, on her hip. She points across the plots of land and fields in a house tucked on the far side under a grove of trees. “We were there for four years, living with my in-laws. There were really no problems with the house, but there were three families under the same roof.”

With cramped quarters and little privacy, Leidy dreamed of something of her own. With her two young sons, Denis and Dilan, growing quickly, she and her husband, Federico, made the decision to build a new home. Her husband contacted Habitat for Humanity Guatemala, and not long after, a group of volunteers came to help build her house.

“The group was hardworking and very friendly,” Leidy remembers. “We hope that they are well, and we thank them for helping us with the house.”

Leidy notes several changes to the house and her routine. “It’s more beautiful to live alone. There’s more privacy that way. We feel happy. There’s more space, it’s more calm here, and there are no longer any conflicts. You have your own routine.” While her husband works as a police officer in Sanarate, Leidy takes care of the house and children. However, she has help if she needs it. Her children are within walking distance of their grandparents’ house.

Living in her new space has afforded Leidy independence and flexibility that she never had before. One aspect that she loves about her new home is the freedom to make changes where she wishes. Over the past few months, she has incrementally added finishing touches.  A line of potted plants lines the balcony. A multicolored hammock sways gently in the breeze. “I’ve been looking to buy a few more things. The children have more space to play, and they can see their grandparents whenever they would like,” she says.

The new house has also allowed their family to add a new member. Zipping between Leidy’s ankles, a small brown puppy named Cachorrito trips on his own feet while attempting to nibble her shoelaces. Denis claps in delight at the scene. There is no doubt that the family will be able to successfully grow with their home.