Mercedes Guadalupe Velásquez García (29) is demure, but her happiness is unmistakable. Trotting on the tip toes of her blue sneakers, she meanders between chairs in the kitchen to point out to us her most prized possession: the sewing machine.
She pushes her glasses up her nose, a smile tugging at the sides of her mouth, and she places a hand atop of the machine. “I’ve been doing needlework for five years. I sell it down in the town below. I love sewing aprons, because you can do so many different designs with them.”
Here, home and work life seamlessly intertwine. Mercedes and her family have lived in their home for about a year, and they could not be more content. Ample space provides Mercedes with a quiet environment that she never realized that she needed. She has painted each room in her house a different color: pink, yellow, and green hues light up the house.
“Much of what I do can be completed in my house. I have more free time that way. I feel more free rather than being confined to two rooms,” Mercedes says. She also no longer feels inhibited by cramped quarters, which defined her previous living conditions. “I plan to expand this room so that it can be a bit bigger,” she reveals to us.
There is no doubt that Mercedes is eager to take advantage of her newfound freedoms that she has gained from living in her own home. “We rented my brother’s house for three years,” she remembers. That included her husband, Jhonny (29), her young daughter, Nataly (6), and her niece, Jenifer (16). “We wanted to move to have something of our own.”
Luckily, Mercedes heard about Habitat for Humanity from her neighbors. “We chatted with the local affiliate to figure out pricing, interest, mortgages, everything. It took only fifteen days for our papers to be approved.”
When asked about what she has taken away from the experience, Mercedes beams. “I like how it is good people helping other good people.” She also is grateful to the support of the international volunteers who made her home possible. “Thank you for helping us. May God bless you, and may you continue to support more people.”