The Tum Morales Family

USA Open Team - Mike Parker

Four-year-old Naomi loves her shiny red scooter. She takes ahold of its two handles and begins to zoom around her kitchen, weaving in and out between her parents’ legs and laughing at their attempts to catch her.

“So much has changed,” her mother, Nancy (28) says. “How can I explain it to you? The time that we spend together is much more precious. Our daughter doesn’t have to go outside all the time for the lack of space. She can play in her own house on her scooter. “The devil scooter,” jokingly grumbles Alvaro (30), Nancy’s husband.

The couple and their daughter have lived in their new home for all of twenty days. “Before, we lived in Zona 3 of Rabinal with my mother in law for five years,” Nancy remembers. We ask how many people used to live in that house. Nancy counts aloud, her fingers up to keep track of each person. “Four, plus three, oh my, seven people! In three rooms! There wasn’t a lot of a space.”

Overcrowding offered limited privacy, and Nancy and Alvaro wanted to make a new change. They knew just who to ask. “Habitat Guatemala has always offered help. The house we lived in was built by Habitat. And for that reason, we wanted to take advantage of the services that they offer.”

Alvaro and Nancy both agree the move has been nothing but positive. “It feels excellent to have a house at last. We are so content and well here. It’s spacious and our own, unlike before, where we were enclosed.”

Although Nancy has to travel a bit more for work, she is happy that she can exercise by walking to the bus stop. As for Alvaro, he has started working earlier in the morning in order to be home by midday. “That way, I can take care of our little one,” he winks at Naomi.

Nancy and Alvaro also recollect the group fondly. “They were friendly and gave us confidence to make this our home. They spoke a lot of their experiences with cultural exchanges. Only one of them had been to Guatemala before, but despite the gap, we were quickly able to communicate and get along well.”

Their message to them? “Thank you for coming to help with the house construction. You are part of this project, and we will never forget what you did to help achieve our dream.”

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