The López Garcia Family

Tucked behind a cluster of sprawling yards, farm animals, and vegetation is Rudy Fernando López García’s Habitat Guatemala home. It sticks out from the landscape, but represents a sign of comfort, which is just what Rudy needed.

His new house, Rudy reflects, is nothing like his old one, which was his childhood home. He and his sister, Elida, were tired of living in poor conditions. “We wanted to move because we wanted to better our conditions,” he explains. “Our old house was so cold at night. The wood was rotting in the foundation. The walls were made of rusted metal that was simply deteriorating.” In addition to finding an adequate place to live, more than anything, Rudy and Elida craved independence and freedom.

Luckily, they discovered the solution within their own community. “Many people in the neighborhood have Habitat Guatemala houses, or have worked with Habitat Guatemala projects,” Rudy mentions. “We went to the office in Panajachel to find out more, and we turned in our paperwork shortly after. It took about two months to process.”

Rudy is grateful to the group of international volunteers who came to help build. “The group that came was so motivated. They liked working really hard and they were always asking the mason how to make something better. They were friendly.” The experience was also new for him. “It was my first time meeting foreigners.”

Since moving in seven months ago, life has become a bit easier for Rudy and Elida. When he isn’t traveling for work as a government customs official in Sanarate, Rudy spends most of his days relaxing and listening to music while Elida studies in the local university. “I feel good because I have my own house and with that, my own freedom, my own privacy, and my own independence.”

As for future plans for his home, Rudy is already thinking ahead. “I want to put in more furniture, inlay a floor, put in a skylight or two.”

His message to the group that came to help him build? “Thank you very much for working with me. This house has given us so much, and we are grateful to you.”