Healthy Home Kit: Christina Sicajan Bixcul

Christina and her husband, Cesar live in precarious conditions. Together, they constructed their house with the materials that they could find and with what people gave them. Life has proven difficult, with little security or resources.

However, recently, everything changed. A group of volunteers from Habitat for Humanity Guatemala arrived to Christina’s home right around Christmas, a moment that she remembers as a beautiful gift. Thanks to those volunteers, Christina and her husband are now owners of a Healthy Home Kit, which features a smokeless stove, sanitary latrine, and water filter. All three components have significantly improved their living conditions.

Upon remembering the group, Christina says that she is glad that the volunteers trusted her. She remembers of all the pictures they took together. “The volunteers were really kind,” she recalls. “They did a great work with the stove and the latrine.” In the spirit of sweat equity, Christina also participated in the construction, showing that it greatly mattered to her. “The group was helping me,” she says. “So I wanted to help them back during the construction”.

She counts the changes in her everyday life, starting with the sanitary latrine. “My previous latrine didn’t have any roof or door. It was falling apart,” explains Christina. Now, because her new latrine is built well, it is cleaner and safer to use.

Christina is also proud of her new stove. With her new stove, she loves making tamales, a traditional Maya dish made of starchy, corn-based dough which is then steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf.  “My new stove is bigger, and the grill warms up well. It is really helpful when I want to cook several dishes at the same time, like beans and tamales.” This would have never been possible before. Previously, Christina’s old stove was too small, which greatly limited her cooking options. Also, the chimney was in bad shape, and her kitchen had terrible ventilation as a result. She suffered immensely. “I had some health problems because of the smoke,” she reflects. “I used to suffer from cough, and my eyes hurt.”

Because it is precious to her, Christina carefully maintains her stove every day. Equally, she is happy to maintain a new water filter in her home. She feels better knowing that she is drinking potable water from a clean source rather than worrying about contamination.

Christiana is looking forward to participating in the future with Habitat for Humanity Guatemala.