Juan lives with his sister, Amalia Catalina (75), his niece Maribel (45), and his great nephew, Ángel Rubén (15), in the department of San Marcos.
As you walk in into Juan’s home, you can smell wood and plastic burning within an open flame. The whole family inhabits a three bedroom house made of deteriorating wood, a leaky metal roof and dirt flooring. Amalia, Maribel and Angel share one room, while Juan sleeps in a separate one. They cook over an open flame in this space, covering the walls and ceiling with soot. This manner of preparing meals has caused several respiratory issues for the family.
The family has few sources of economic income, Juan works as a farmer, when the season permits, and so does Angel, who works at a mechanic workshop and studies in the afternoon. Amalia stays home to take care of Maribel, who suffered a fall four years ago; she fractured her ankle, leaving her with the inability to walk.
Amalia explains that she and her family previously lived in a different location. They owned the land that they lived on, but were accused of invading it and after several years of different conflicts they decided to leave and they moved in with Juan. The house where they are currently living has belonged to the family for several generations now, “I have lived my entire life here, since I was a child,” says Juan.
At first sight, some may claim that this family is living in poor conditions, but they cease to be happy. They welcomed us with a smile and have learned to face all of life’s difficulties together.
In light of their living conditions, Habitat Guatemala, through its Vulnerable Famillies Fund, is planning to support the family by providing them with a new home. On October 12th, Habitat Guatemala a race (5K &10K) was held in San Marcos to raise funds for the family.
We ask that you consider supporting the cause as well. Join us and be part of the construction of a better Guatemala!