Jesús expresses a genuine warmth that fills the room. When asked about the volunteer group that came to build his house, he beams even brighter. He pulls out his phone and starts scrolling through pictures of smiling faces on a construction site.
“One night, we had a party with a lot of food, and they gave me this,” he says. He rises from the couch and walks around to the kitchen area of his new house to show us the American flag that hangs below the counter. He has also printed a photo of the volunteers giving it to him, which hangs on the opposite wall corner and proudly mentions that he is friends with them on Facebook.
After growing up in his father’s Habitat house, which was built ten years ago, Jesús decided to apply for his own. At twenty-one years old, he is highly independent and enjoys the increased flexibility between his home life and his job as a cashier at a local store down the road. In a way, constructing a house has also represented the next phase in his journey to adulthood. His father, Daniel, agrees and is happy that his son has been able to have had the experience that he had himself a decade before.
Jesús is thrilled to have a home at last. Since moving in late July, he is happy to have discovered a newfound individuality. “Everything has changed. There’s space, and I can see my friends, as well as my father and brother. It’s more comfortable here, and I have greater freedom to do what I would like with my time.”
As for his long term plans, Jesús hopes to start a family in his new house. “First comes the house, then comes the wife and kids. I want to be able to provide for them, and the house allows for that.”
On a final note, Jesús wants to know that he will never forget them. “I am proud and very fortunate to have met you. I hope that you come visit us again. I’ll be waiting.”