Across the street from a newly built Habitat for Humanity house is an old garage. Upon opening the door and taking a few steps inside, a bustling one-room bakery reveals itself. Two assistant bakers knead and toss dough on large tables covered with flour. Next to their work stations are high stacks of crates that store cracked egg shells, which signify the 120 eggs that are used each day to make rolls, bread loafs, and desserts.
Not long ago, Rony (45) and Ernestina (43) made a decision that would impact their lives for the better: a career switch. The couple left their office jobs in order to open this very bakery to provide for their Huehuetenango neighborhood. A few years later, thanks to the help of Habitat Guatemala staff and international volunteers, they erected their Habitat house on the same plot of land.
Despite being actively involved with their neighborhood and supplying batches of freshly baked goods each day, Rony and Ernestina acknowledged that they needed something for themselves. “We had decided four years ago that we wanted a house with Habitat, which had been suggested to us by our neighbor, but there was just never time to sit down and seriously consider it as an option,” Ernestina tells us. “Thankfully, when we came back around to it, the process was quick.”
Building a new house has benefitted the family in several ways. “The biggest difference is that we can be alone here. Privacy is so important to us,” Ernestina says. “We can decide what we want to do with our own house. Plus, it’s right across the street from the bakery.”
Although they are still working to install electricity and water, and also insulation to keep out the cold Huehuetanango nights, Rony, Ernestina, and their three teenaged children, Bryan (17), Melissa (16), and Madelin (14) will be moving in within the next few months. For now, they reside with Ernestina’s brother. Soon, they will only have to cross a small street to get to work. “We’re very content to have a new home.” Ernestina smiles. Now, the family
can feed their neighborhood with more ease and comfort than ever before.