Narcisa’s home was far from adequate. She was living in a home made of adobe, a very accessible material in Baja Verapaz. Adobe in itself isn’t necessarily something to complain about. It’s sturdy, it insulates relatively well, and it’s quite inexpensive. The major downside is that when the adobe gets old, it starts to soak up water. Homes often don’t have gutters to redirect the water, so water falls right down the side of the dried mud walls and it gets soaked up. This makes homes especially vulnerable for when earthquakes or strong tremors happen.
Narcisa was living in that kind of house. And apart from that, she says the place often flooded. They would have to take everything out of the house to avoid it getting ruined. Or to dry out.
Her new place isn’t like that.
She partnered with Habitat Guatemala to get her new home, where “it doesn’t get us wet. It doesn’t even drip when it rains!” Narcisa is really happy with her new place. “We are content here,” she says, “living safely.”
Her new place is made from cement blocks in the Habitat-approved earthquake-resistant style. During its construction, a group of volunteers from the University of Cincinnati helped out. Narcisa sends them a big greeting. “Thanks to everyone who was helping out, to the masons as well, and thanks for helping Guatemalan families,” she says.
Narcisa’s life has changed. She has fewer worries now. Rain no longer presents such a problem as it used to. And when there are tremors, Narcisa stays inside, without worrying if her house will collapse on top of her. “Thank God that Habitat gave us this opportunity,” she says.
Her children are also very grateful for the opportunity. Aura, her 25-year-old daughter, often practices for beauty school in the new place. The house represents space, opportunity, and safety for the family that is growing older and bigger.