Last month, Habitat Guatemala set out for the town of Usumatlán, Zacapa with two intentions. The first would be to honor our late director, don Luis Samayoa, who passed away last October. The second would be to complete a house in less than twenty-four hours in honor of his memory. What transpired would be remembered as one of the most notable feats in our organization’s history.
Friday began sunny and dry under the Zacapa heat. Volunteers from all backgrounds, as well as Luis’s wife and two sons, gathered to watch the first brick laid. In front of an eager crowd, the first mason quickly spread a thick layer of mortar on the foundation. He juggled the brick in his hands, careful not to let it slip, and laid it gently down, pausing to make any adjustments with a level tool. Once the commemorative gesture was complete, the workers leapt into action, hurrying to mix thousands of more pounds of mortar before the twenty fourth hour was up.
The crew worked tirelessly. Throughout the day, they passed concrete into the new houses, stacked blocks, and tied rebar after rebar. Well into the evening, the Amway Colony thrummed with animation and a fierce, eager determination to finish the building earlier than expected. Thanks to the help of 200+ national Habitat Guatemala staff, national volunteers, and 50 members of the Foley Group build, the house was completed in a record eighteen hours, with construction terminating at 2:30 Saturday morning.
The next day, new homeowner Gabriela Vazquez and her son were provided the keys to their newly completed house. As a pivotal Habitat leader in her community, Gabriela is overjoyed to have a home in dedication, love, and memory of don Luis Samayoa.