María Irene López Family

María lives with her husband, Fermín, and their three children, Fermín Jr. (23), Mynor (22) David (19) and Luis Enrique (16), in their new Habitat home in Valle de las Flores Habitat Housing Community in Escuintla. Fermín works as a security guard, while María is a homemaker and has a small tortilla shop in her house.

The López 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 a shelter for a few months. Then, they moved to Quetzaltenango because one of her sons fell ill. That is when they received the visit from Habitat Staff who told them about the project. After a few months, they started to build a new home for themselves.

Nine months have passed since the family moved into their home in Valle de las Flores. When asked how she feels about her new home, María says, ”I feel grateful to God. Grateful to all the donors and volunteers that without knowing us, they helped us. Thanks to Habitat for looking after us.” She continues, “I had already lost hope, but you came and helped us. That is why I am thankful and calm. In the future I would love to have a big garden, full of flowers!”

The family enjoys  spending time together inside the house, as well as going to the nearby field to watch everybody play. María shares that their lives have changed for the better. “We never imagined what was going to happen to us. But, since the day that we moved in I feel changed and hopeful to start a new life.”

The family has many memories of the construction process, and the volunteers and donors that helped them. “We came and built with all of the volunteers. It was a great experience. We were able to spend time with them,” says María.

She finishes with a message to all of the donors and volunteers; “I cannot give you enough thanks. I would like to have all of you here to give you a big hug. I would not ever imagined to have a house of my own. I used to say to my husband; ‘I think that I am going to die before I have a house of my own’ and now it is a reality thanks to all of you! May God bless you. I will keep all you forever in my heart.”