One moment and everything changed for Byron and his family. Byron and his siblings were out of the house when they got word that there was explosion, and that the explosion had taken place inside their house. Byron rushed home to find out what had happened.
His parents were cooking using a gas stove, and it had exploded. The impact was even harder when Byron found out that his parents were inside and had been critically injured. They did not die instantly, but both parents passed away within a few months.
So Byron and his three siblings – two of them too young to work – were left with the remnants of a burned house and no parents. The house was made partially of block and partially of wooden plank, except for one room that was made purely of block. Byron and his siblings all moved into that little room, and that’s where they lived for three months.
It was three months of ashy walls, cramped quarters, and horrific memories.
They realized they couldn’t go on like that. Byron talked to his local Habitat Guatemala affiliate in Chimaltenango, and was quickly approved for a new home. The construction was aided by the help of volunteers from Habitat for Humanity of Evansville.
Byron says he’s really thankful for the help that the students gave him. “It’s a shame they were only here for a little time,” he says. “A thousand thanks for the help.”
Byron has already painted every paintable surface in the house, including staining the cement floor red. With the help of his siblings he’s planning to keep adding furniture, making it feel more homey. Byron says that looking at the old house “still takes a toll.” The family of siblings has moved on and is continuing to recover, and having a new clean uncluttered home without any remnants of ash is certainly helpful.