The José Perez Family

After losing his home during the 2014 earthquake in San Marcos on the Western region of Guatemala, José decided to start again by coming to Habitat for a new home. Having lived in a makeshift home out of tin and wood in a rented property, José then decided to commit to a new home and invest in the future. Because his sister had a great experience with a Habitat home a few years before, he decided to build his on a piece of land that his father, Benedicto, gave him.

“I feel at peace, and it’s nice to know that I am not working to pay for someone else’s future but for mine instead,” says José, smiling with his father while we sat in the kitchen.  He moved most of his things into the house a few weeks after it was built. Jose still enjoys the single life and is slowly working to get the items that he needs to furnish his home. He plans on painting the walls, building a garage, and placing a fence on the land so that he can have a place for visitors to park in a safe area.

After showing me the stack of books in the front room, he says that now that he has the space at home he is able to spend his time preparing to be an English teacher, which is his passion. At the moment, Jose works at a call center in Xela, which is a two hour bus ride from his home.  Regardless of the distance, he enjoys the commute and always takes a book along with him on the bumpy ride to keep his mind busy.  “My favorite books are by Professor Ron Clark,” he says. “He writes on teaching to difficult students”.

José is very grateful, and after showing me the photos of the team that helped build his house, he mentions that he stays in touch with a few of the members through Facebook.  After pondering for a moment he says, “Thank you for caring and taking the trouble to come down and help me build a home,” with a heartfelt smile on his face.

Now that he has his own space for living and studying, Jose can focus on his passion to teach others like him. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the hard work of the Habitat volunteers.