Henry, Maria and their four children Christian(10), Henry (9), Stephanie (4) and Adriana (1) live in the village of Xecaracoj, Quetzaltenango. They have lived in their Habitat home now for seven months. Before, they lived in a small house, just at the back of their current house, where they had lived for eight years. The house was made of cement blocks but had dirt floors and only had enough room for the family’s beds and their stove.
“We’re so grateful that Habitat brought this project to our town, because before, they were only able to bring services to larger municipalities. We’re so glad an area like ours can now receive this service,” says Henry, his older brother built a Habitat home 13 years ago, and recently, Henry’s father reminded him that Habitat was an organization that could help the family improve their living conditions.
“Here in Quetzaltenango, it is very expensive to be able to build a house because it is expensive to buy the land, to bring the water, light, drainage and then buy building materials and pay for labor. But thanks to Habitat, the building materials and labor expenses are taken care of and the rest we are able to take care of and pay for the house, the same as if we were paying rent,” says Henry.
“When asked how the kids feel, “excellent, magnificent” Henry says with a grin. “Happy, it is a much better environment and healthier for the kids.” Maria adds. “Before, there was dirt. Now, there are floors, and doors, and a bathroom. Before we had an outdoor toilet and there were snakes, toads, coachroaches, and there was not any light. When the kids would use the bathroom at night, I worried that they could get bitten by something or fall into the hole,” she continues; “I worried a lot. Now they can go to the bathroom, there’s light, there aren’t any animals, and with just a flush, the water and waste goes away. It’s excellent.”
To the group of volunteers, the couple says, “We send our greetings to our friends! How are you? We hope you’re doing so well and appreciate how you keep in touch and ask about us!” “We are so grateful to you all that you came to lend a hand and we hope that one day you’ll come and visit us.” Says Maria. Henry adds, “We keep in touch with some of the volunteers, and they ask for pictures and tell us what a beautiful house!” “We’re so happy to still know them and have a way to show our appreciation.”