Habitat for Humanity homeowners, such as María Elena Chávez, and volunteers often learn that they can achieve more than they ever expected.
By Heather Wilkinson
María Elena Chávez didn’t hesitate to apply for a Habitat house. “A friend told me about the project,” she says. “That same week I went to apply for a house. I believed in the project from the beginning.” María Elena is the single mother of two children, 11-year-old Camila and baby Francisco Moisés.
María Elena and her children have been living in a room in the house where she works as a domestic employee. “The three of us are living in one small room. We don’t fit. Now Camila will have her own room. She is happy and is ready for her house to be finished. She has even been saving her money to help pay for the house.”
María Elena says that the construction work was difficult at first but that she eventually grew accustomed to it. “The first days on the construction site were really hard, carrying blocks and mixing mortar in the hot sun. Now when I get home from the work site on Sundays I am able to play with my children.” She adds that she has even come to enjoy the work. “It’s something different from what I usually do.”
Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to create healthy communities. Working together, partner families begin to build relationships that continue after the house construction ends. “We laugh, joke and work together,” says María Elena. “All the homeowners have been really good to me. We all share what we have with each other. It’s wonderful.”