María lives with her husband, Bernardo, and their son, Merly Leonardo (27) in their new Habitat home in Valle de las Flores Habitat Housing Community in Escuintla. Bernando is currently working as a bus driver, while María is a homemaker.
The Castellanos family is one of the 41 families who received a fully subsidized Habitat home through the Fuego Volcano Disaster Response project. The families who have benefited from the project are from the communities of San Miguel los Lotes, Los Barrios and El Rodeo. The Fuego volcano eruption affected over 1.7 million Guatemalans, leaving many dead and missing, and thousands seeking refuge in temporary shelters.
Following the tragedy, the family lived in shelters, with relatives and then rented a small house made out of metal corrugated sheets. It was then that they received the visit from Habitat Staff, who sought to include them in this project.
A few months have passed since the family moved into their home in Valle de las Flores. When asked about how they feel with their new home María says; “We feel happy and grateful. The weather is nice and we have our own space now.”
In the future, the family is planning to paint the house and plant a big garden as well. “We enjoy time with our granddaughters here. We go to the field to watch everyone play and if we want, we can just take a bus and go to the nearest town,” says María.
The family has many memories regarding the construction process with all of the volunteers and donors that helped them, “Our lives have changed in a big way. We feel safer and more secure here. Thanks to Habitat, to the donors and everyone who helped us,” says María.
She finishes with a message to all of the donors and volunteers; “Thank you all, for your support. Thanks to you, we now have a safe place and an adequate house. May God bless you.”