Edín, his mother, and his son moved out from a wood-plank house with a palm leaf roof into a new house in town. The difference is night and day. But Edín has fixed up his house in a special way…
Edín’s house isn’t like the others. Although the floor plan is the same, the rest of the house has already been fashioned with a very creative touch that makes it stand out from the others. Among Guatemalan houses, there’s a typical flooring choice: choose a ceramic tile and hire a mason to cover your floor with it. Edín opted for another way.
But first, Edín’s story starts in another house, up the mountain and away from the city. “Up the mountain, life is harder,” he said. There’s little accessibility to services, food, or household items. “It’s really far from here,” said his mother, Matilde, who was in charge of taking care of the house. “The bus only came twice a day, the last one at noon, and from then on, there was no way to get to the house.” The house was made of wooden planks, with a palm-leaf roof.
“We always put the palm leaves in place, but after a year, they would start to leak,” said Edin. “It was difficult. It was a simple house.” The word “simple” in this case also encompasses “no electricity” and “dirt floor.”
“The truth is that you want to try to live in a better way,” said Edin. “I didn’t feel uncomfortable there, because I’d lived there since growing up. But as I kept growing up, at age 15 I realized that someday I’d have to get a house. Because of my job [wage], I couldn’t really save anything, so thanks to Habitat for the opportunity.”
So when he heard about Habitat for Humanity, he jumped at the opportunity.
“This was really my chance,” he said. “We moved because it was an opportunity that Habitat gave us, an opportunity that you have to take advantage of to have a better life.”
Building his own house alongside a group of volunteers was, in Edin’s words, “really cool. They worked excellently.” Matilde added, “the girls, too! And really big men.”
Edin also had a message for all of the eFinity who helped build the house. “Thanks! Greetings to the whole group and Amway, for coming to support all of us in general. We are really thankful for the help that you all gave us. And hopefully you carry on, helping many more families that need it. Thank you.”
“Thanks to God,” said Matilde, especially happy with the location of the house. “Now we have this house. Now we have time to rest.”
“There are a lot of changes,” said Edin. “But thanks to God, many years will pass and we won’t have to replace our roof!”
Edín is the boss of his own masonry and construction company. He works for 11 days at a time all over the country (because in Usumatlán, work is scarce) and then takes a three-day break. He knows all about building homes and he has the handyman skills to be able to carry out just about any type of small construction or remodeling job. So Edín decided that, on his days off, he would continue finishing his own house with ceramic tiling.
The problem was that ceramic tiles were expensive. So Edín talked to some ceramic suppliers and asked for their “slight defect” tiles. They gave him a bunch of various tiles at a bargain price, and what Edín did with the tiles had the neighbors talking.
He sorted through the tiles and made his floor a mosaic of colors and patterns, an unconventional style for Guatemala. For his bathroom, he took the broken tiles and broke them further, in an purposeful way. He arranged the bathroom tiles in a similar artistic way. The effect of his effort?
Edin says that when people come to visit, they are astonished with the floor and inspired to do the same thing. He is proud to show the tiny imperfections that enabled him to afford the tile and gladly tells exactly how to do it.
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