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‘I want to build many more houses!’

Octavio Gonzalez Cabellero came all the way from Paraguay to help Koffi Kouassi and Tonya Harper build their home. He is part of an international student delegation helping celebrate Habitat for Humanity’s 200,000th house built worldwide, but his reasons for being in Knoxville are many.


Octavio Gonzalez Caballero works on shingling the roof of Koffi’s and Tonya’s house..

”I enjoy getting to share this experience with the family. I also wanted to see what Habitat is doing in the United States,” he says.

A college student studying commercial engineering in Chile, Octavio is already thinking about a future with Habitat. He is enthusiastic about his home country’s young build program and wants to tell people about its success and the approximately 400 homes that have been built so far. Later in the week he and youth from Guyana, Czech Republic, Bolivia and the United States will travel to Appalachia, where they will share the message of Habitat with schools and churches.

”Habitat gives people an opportunity,” Octavio says. “And families need an opportunity. It’s a satisfactory feeling, being a part of that.”

Like many youth his age, Octavio has caught the construction bug. He has become hooked on helping low-income families improve their lives, and he plans to make this a major part of his future. After returning home to Paraguay, he will go back to his studies, which he hopes will prepare him to one day work for a nonprofit organization like Habitat for Humanity.

”I want to build many more houses in Paraguay!” he says.