Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala

by The GOD'S CHILD Project
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Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala
Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala

June and July have been very busy months for us here at Nuestros Ahijados, especially for our house building programme. Over the past two months we have been visited by 8 Service Teams, all extremely ready and excited to help in our mission to provide for people in desperate need of a home.

Our social workers regularly receive requests for houses, and organise visits in the villages and towns around Antigua Guatemala to see which families have the greatest need. Over the past two months we have built 14 houses in various locations around Antigua, including San Juan Alotenango, San Lorenzo El Cubo and Pastores. This brings the total number of houses for this year up to 23.

In many of the houses we have also donated stoves, beds and water filters to the families to ensure that the family had access to clean drinking water and were safe from smoke inside their houses. They also now no longer have to sleep on a dirt floor. Some families also received a separate kitchen this month.

One of the families that received a house in July was the Astun Shoc family. They family has been known to the Project for a number of years as we have been helping the oldest child, Fausto, with physical therapy and medical treatment. Fausto has a delay in his neurodevelopment, with partial paralysis in his legs and hands, as a result of perinatal asphyxia and is unable to walk without the use of a walker. Thanks to donations we have been able to help him with medical appointments, new walking equipment and physical therapy. We also saw the need of the family as a whole and have provided them with water filters and an economical stove before building them a house.

The family consists of mother, Karen (24), Fausto (10) and his little sister Daniela (5), although they live on the same land as their grandmother, Eva, and their uncles, aunts and cousins. It is often Eva who has to take care of the children whilst Karen goes to work in a boutique shop. Karen earns just Q850 ($113) a month to support her children.

One of our brilliant service teams, Benilde-St Margaret’s Service Team, who were on their 7th mission with the GOD’S CHILD Project, travelled down to Guatemala to help Fausto and his family as one of the three houses they built. It took three days of hard work to build the family their house, as well as a fourth day to build the family a kitchen. The family was extremely grateful for their house and couldn’t wait to move in. Their quality of life has drastically improved with this new house, and hopefully so too will the health of Fausto.

All 14 families who have received a house in the past two months are extremely grateful for the generosity, love and hard work by the service teams and people who support the house building programme. Their lives have improved and they now have a better chance of a brighter future.

The GOD’S CHILD Project has been working for 30 years to break the chains of poverty through education, housing and healthcare. Please click the link below to donate and support us in our ongoing mission.

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Our service team department has been working extremely hard this year to continue with our goal to break the chains of poverty in Guatemala through housing. So far this year we have built 8 houses for families in need with the help of our service teams and donors.

 

One of the families to receive a house this year is the López family. They consist of father, Alfredo, Mother, Carmelina, and four children, Aracely, Alfredo, Azucena and Adolfo, aged between 5 and 17.

 

Whilst many of the families who receive houses from us are families that have visited our Project to request our support, the López family was actually approached by us after we became aware of their current situation. We were visiting a child in our scholarship programme who had recently changed house and saw that his neighbours, the López family, were living in derelict conditions. We reached out to them, confirmed that their living situation was in dire need of change and offered them the chance to be a part of our housebuilding programme.

 

The house they were living in before was a single room made of used sheet metal with a dirt floor. The house inside had no space for anything other than three beds and so their kitchen was outside the front door. Their fridge was open to the elements and their stove let smoke drift into the room where the family lived and slept.

 

Alfredo works on a farm and Carmelina weaves and sells traditional clothes and fabrics, but the money they earn is not enough to cover all the family needs. Carmelina suffers from diabetes, but cannot always afford to buy her medicine every month. The four children are all studying in public schools, but are a few years behind where they are expected to be as they have not always been able to attend their classes.

 

Along with our service team members our staff, which also included our new Nuestros Ahijados Directors Joanne Wessels and Jorge Chour, spent three days building a new, more dignified house for the family. The previous house was not knocked down but rather will be converted into the kitchen, meaning that the family has a lot more space than before and can live more comfortably. The looks on the family’s faces in the handing-over ceremony said more than their words ever could. It felt like there was divine intervention to cross our paths.

 

In addition to the house being built we also provided the family with some essentials to make their lives easier and safer. A new economical stove with a chimney was given to the family so they can cook for cheaper and the smoke will no longer put the family in danger as they live and sleep. An Ecofilter to provide the family with safe drinking water to ensure they are no longer at risk every time they feel thirsty, and finally, an orange tree, donated by a kind supporter of the Project through our Wish list, perhaps symbolizing the hope we have that this change and the growth of the family will bear fruit.

 

The GOD’S CHILD Project has been working for 30 years to break the chains of poverty through education, housing and healthcare. Please click the link below to donate to support us in our ongoing mission.

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This month, with the help of a service team hailing from all corners of the USA, Nuestros Ahijados was able to build two homes and change the lives of the families that live there. Both the Mazate and Rodriguez families were living in unstable houses with broken rooves. The walls were made out of inadequate material to keep out the cold, and the upcoming winter period meant the families were at serious risk of illness; the last thing they need during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

After three days of hard work, both families had a solid, stable home with cement floors. Somewhere safe that they could call their own. The handing over ceremony got emotional as the families shared their gratitude with the Service Team that dedicated their time and resources to give the families a new start.

But, once the houses are built, that is not the end of our duty of care for the families we have supported. Our social workers regularly revisit families to check up on them and to make sure that they are still managing.

This month we had two such cases where further action was required to support our families. On visiting the Valle family, who received a house in 2013, it was apparent that their needs had grown more serious. The family consists of Alejandro and Petronila, and their three adult sons, two of whom are in wheelchairs after catching meningitis at the same time at a young age. They require constant care, which puts a strain not only on Alejandro and Petronila who can’t work at the same time, but also on the boys’ older brother, who had to give up his education to help look after them.

We assessed the family’s immediate needs and provided them with a stove to replace the broken one they previously were using. This meant that the kitchen was no longer filled with smoke when cooking, putting the lives of the family at risk. We also began to provide vegetables to the family each week so that they had enough to eat.

Another family that needed our help was the Pérez family who received a house from us in 2018. Their two-year-old son, Melvin, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Our Padrinos department has been supporting Melvin and his family with their appointments in UNOP, the children’s cancer ward in the Roosevelt Hospital, even going as so far as to donate their own blood. After receiving the all-clear for cancer in August, and this month his check-up confirmed that the cancer had not returned and that Melvin was completely recovered.

The gift of a home is something that completely changes the life of a family in our Project, and once a family has received a home from us they know that they can count on us whenever they have further needs.

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The Zuleta and Carmona families live very close to each other San Antonio Aguas Calientes, a town 15-20 minutes from Antigua, Guatemala. They are family, after all, and each of them has their own unique story.

23-year-old Damaris and her family live in the Verapaz neighborhood of San Antonio Aguas Calientes. She gave birth to her 8-year-old son Lester when she was only 15 years of age. She became pregnant due to the deception of an older man taking advantage of her young age, who afterwards only left her. Damaris never heard from him again.

It was difficult for Damaris being a single mother and trying to support her child with the little money that she earned working as a weaver. She eventually found another companion, who became a father figure to her children and helps provide for them. He works as a laborer in the field to pay for the studies and food for her two children, 8-year-old Lester and 5-year-old Dilan. Damaris makes Q600/month ($80) weaving and Luis makes Q1,200/month ($160) in the field.

During a New Year’s Eve party at the end of 2020, Lester was setting off celebratory fireworks. Due to his young age, he accidentally put what is called a “chiltepito” in his pants pocket where he had placed other chiltepitos. The fireworks caught fire in his pocket and left him with 3rd degree burns on his leg. As a result, he was transferred to the hospital for an emergency skin graft transplant surgery. The family’s economic situation worsened since they then had to spend their money on expensive ointments and healing agents to treat Lester’s burns.

29-year-old Olga spends her days weaving traditional Guatemalan fabrics, earning a meager Q600 ($80) a month to support her three children, 12-year-old Jazmin, and her 8-year-old twins Estuardo and Fernando. When she was pregnant with her daughter Jazmin, Olga’s husband was brought before the local court for murder, which made it very difficult on her family and her ability to cope alone during her pregnancy. Her parents supported her during that time. She stopped seeing her husband while he was in prison because she had no way to visit him. While incarcerated, he sent friends from the same village they lived in to threaten her. After the threats continued, Olga knew she had to move her family to a new area so they would not be harmed.

Before a group of excited volunteers arrived to build new homes, both families lived in very humble houses made of reeds, laminate, and a dirt floor. They approached Nuestros Ahijados to discuss the possibility of new homes for their families. After a couple of home visits by our social workers, it was determined that both families were eligible.

 Their dreams came true when a small ServiceTeam from various parts of the United States arrived during the early part of July to build them their new homes. “They were like angels sent down from heaven”, said Olga. After three grueling days of digging 2-foot trenches, hand-mixing cement, laying a cinderblock foundation, cutting wood, and nailing on the walls and roof, a bright blue 12x16 foot house stood for Olga and Damaris’s families. Both mothers were elated to have a safe and dignified home where their children could sleep, eat, learn, and grow. It would be a home that would protect them from the harsh rains of the rainy season here in Guatemala.

There are countless more houses to be built for families in need, and we cannot build them without your continued love, compassion, and support. Please visit www.GodsChild.org to learn more about how you can be involved and start planning your own home-building experience.

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The Alonzo Camey Family lives in Parrojas, the Vista Hermosa village of Parramos, Chimaltenango, 7,150 feet up a mountain in a house that was made of plastic, dry corn cane, metal sheets, wooden support beams, and dirt floors. They have no electricity, cook over wood, and shared one bed. The father Angel takes care of his three girls, 9-year-old Yesica, 8-year-old Josselin, and 6-year-old Melanie Yesenia. Angel was left to look after his three beautiful daughters on his own after his wife passed away 6 years ago from a heart attack. He says life has never been the same for the family since their mother passed, but that each day he continues to fight for the girls and give them the best life he can.

Señor Angel, who is 30 years old, works tirelessly in the fields to provide for his daughters and, in order to support the family a little more, he also works side jobs to provide a extra food, clothing, and essentials for them. The death of his wife has made it much more difficult to make enough of a living to take care of her children.

Angel approached Asociación Nuestros Ahijados to inquire about a house because during the night it gets extremely cold up on the mountain as the wind blows right through the corn stalks and leaves the family, especially his young daughters, prone to illness. His dream came true when a ServiceTeam from various parts of the United States arrived at the end of February to finance and build the home, side by side with Asociación Nuestros Ahijados and the family itself. After three grueling days of digging 2-foot trenches, hand-mixing cement, laying a cinderblock foundation, cutting wood, and nailing on the walls and roof, a bright blue 12x16 foot house stood for Angel, Yesica, Josselin, and Melanie.

The ServiceTeam consisted of health care workers and long-time volunteers from North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and each and everyone of them was so humbled by this experience to be able to build a new future for a family that has suffered so much. What struck this group the most was that despite all of the family’s struggles, they have maintained a positive attitude and smiles on their faces. When the group wasn’t building, they were found blowing bubbles, coloring, or putting together puzzles with the three little girls. For these volunteers it is a monumental blessing to be able to give Yesica, Josselin and Melanie a new home, new bunk beds, toys, and groceries. They were more than happy to donate a little bit of their time and resources for a family in such great need.

There are so many more houses to be built for families in need, and we cannot build them without your continued love, compassion, and support. Please visit www.GodsChild.org to learn more about how you can be involved and organize your own home-building team.

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The GOD'S CHILD Project

Location: Bismarck, ND - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
RINA LAZO
Director of Benefactor Services
Antigua, Sacatepequez Guatemala
$11,049 raised of $23,000 goal
 
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