Anastasia opens the door. Her house is clear from clutter, well-painted, and very well-organized. The floor is stained red, the walls are painted yellow, and in lieu of interior doors there are curtains that are well-kept. It’s obvious that Anastasia and her husband take a huge pride in the ownership of their new home.
But things weren’t always so comfortable.
Anastasia and her husband Miguel were living with Miguel’s parents even after getting married. In that house, they shared a very small space.
“We only had a room,” says Anastasia. “That’s where we cooked and slept. It was really small and uncomfortable.” The couple shared a little room and that’s where they lived. The room was only a tiny bit bigger than their new living room. “We had everything in that one room.”
The house was in a decintegrating state as well. The house wasn’t made of earthquake-resistant block. It was made of adobe, a cheap mixture of earth, calcium, and water. Lots of homes in rural Guatemala are made from this affordable material, but it causes huge risks to health and security when the walls absorb water and become “humid.” The house Anastasia and Miguel were living in had reached an unsafe level of dampness that caused the indoor air to be constantly humid.
“I continually got sick,” says Anastasia. “Coughing, the flu…”
But that wasn’t the worst. Anastasia says that the worst part of living in the old house was her mother-in-law.
“She always accused us of using too much water and electricity. She would shut off the electricity to our house from 5:30 in the morning until 7 at night.”
The 25-year-old couple was finished with living under somebody else’s roof. They partnered with Habitat Guatemala and within a short time, volunteers were helping to build the house.
“I am so thankful for you unconditional support,” says Anastasia of the volunteers. “You’ve left a special memory for me, and for that we are happy. May God bless all of your families with good heatlh. You’ve been a part of my family, reaching my heart. I love you all.”
Now that she’s in her new house, everything is different. She and her husband have space. There’s no noise outside. And there’s no voice telling them what they can and can’t do.
“How different is this,” she says. “Now there’s peace! I can do whatever I want and nobody will scold me.”
Anastasia and Miguel have gained their independence and their peace through a Habitat house, something they are very grateful for. And the effect is obvious in the evident care that the house receives.