The Morente Family

Strong rains have left the path to Sindy Karina Morente’s Habitat Guatemala home thick with mud. However, Sindy expertly weave her scooter between the holes and puddles, eventually parking in a dry grass patch outside of her home. “We’re thinking to add a driveway here,” she laughs, dismounting from the bike. “Come on in!”

Despite the rain, Sindy and her mother, Ubalda (53) are ecstatic. Two months ago, they moved from bustling Rabinal into their new home, which is located right on the sleepy outskirts of town. Ubalda enjoys the peace and quiet that they had never enjoyed before. “We are so well and happy here. It’s something to call our own,” she says.

A new Habitat home has afforded both Sindy and Ubalda a new source of ownership. Before, they had struggled with paying rent. “We were living and renting for six years in Zone 3 of Rabinal, by the riverbank,” Sindy explains. “Although it was a good house, it was difficult. We wanted to move so that we didn’t have to rent anymore. We wanted something of our own.”

“For two years, we had bought this land and wanted to do something with it,” Ubalda adds. Sindy nods. “Habitat Guatemala is quite well known in Baja Verapaz and Rabinal, so that’s how we knew of it. A coworker recommended that I look into it. And it was quick. We submitted the paperwork, and fifteen days later, we were approved.”

Moving has provided new work opportunities to mother and daughter. Sindy is in charge of managing credits with Micoope, a Guatemalan nonprofit organization that functions as a savings and credit agency and that encourages economic development. After working tirelessly throughout the day, Sindy says that she enjoys coming home to a quiet house at night. “We’re more comfortable. It’s calmer here, not as loud.”

Ubalda used to sell ice cream downtown, but has since taken up new business ventures. She currently raises chickens in their backyard. “I sell eggs door to door here. I have ten hens—for the moment,” she says with a smile on her face. Living and working at home has allowed her to spend more time with Sindy’s one-year-old niece, Daylin, who can contentedly watch cartoons in the living room.

Sindy and Ubalda also remember the volunteers who came to help transform their lives with great fondness. “They were friendly—I was with them the entire time,” recalls Ubalda. “We feel very happy for their support of our house. Thanks to them, we have something to call ours.”

“They worked a lot, almost so much that they left me with no work to do. They had lunch with my niece, and she posed for many photos with them,” laughs Sindy.

To those same volunteers who built their home, Sindy has a special message: “We have you in our minds. We send you greetings from here. When you come back, we will be waiting for you. May God always accompany you. We thank you for supporting us, for spending time with us.”