Ruben opens the door of his new home. “Come on in,” he says happily. His wife, Juana, is inside with her mother. The family has few possessions to clutter the house, so there is plenty of space to sit and talk.
The family has built their house just above San Antonio Palopó, where there are very few jobs available. Ruben is fortunate to have a job selling medicine at a nearby pharmacy.
Ruben and his family are especially grateful for his job and the opportunity, because they didn’t always live in such a comfortable place.
“Before, we were renting. We lived with more family members,” says Ruben. He explains how renting is different. “Sometimes the landlord raises the price without warning. And when we were renting, the landlord would come banging on our door at 5 or 6 in the morning, when we were sleeping.”
There was a lack of independence, respect, and privacy in their old house. And aside from the barriers to a dignified home, the family was simply losing money. Making payments on a home is a type of investment, and the family’s rent money was going straight up the ladder to the owner of the home. Things had to change.
Ruben submitted his paperwork to Habitat Guatemala, and was authorized an affordable loan to be paid back over 8-10 years. During the construction, a group from Plymouth Church came to lend a hand.
“Thanks to everyone who came,” says Ruben. “To the institution [Habitat] and everyone for taking the time to take my words into account. May you all continue on. Thanks very much for supporting us.”
For Ruben, the difference of having a new house is huge. He’s got a big living room/kitchen, two bedrooms, and an indoor bathroom. And he’s got a lot of good to say about it! “The difference is that we are more comfortable, more independent, more healthy here. And we are happier because of it! We can go out and buy things and put them in our house, and we feel content. It’s really comfortable inside the house!”
Ruben and Juana are content with their new place. They are also providing Juana’s mother her kids with a bedroom. They are planning to keep fixing things up as the funds come in, but in the mean time they are proud to be able to pay for something that is their own.