Though both Adrian and Mihaela Tapos are medical doctors, in Beius, Romania, such a profession does not always earn adequate income to afford decent shelter. In fact, until 1999, the only housing they could afford for themselves and their four children was an apartment intended to temporarily house single doctors. With no running water or bathroom facilities, life wasnt easy.
Upon the request of our employer, we could have been asked to leave at any time, says Adrian. It was insecurity. The worst was we had no water available in the house.
Mihaela remembers those days all too well. We had to carry the water from a pit well, and then pour it in the big 200-liter barrel in the loft, she says. Water was pulled out of the well with a long wood stick that had a metal pick at the end to hold the water bucket handle. We did this for five years.
But in August 1999, more than 300 volunteers came from 15 countries to build 10 Habitat houses in 10 days on Habitat Street in Beius. The Tapos familys house was among them, and today, the street is home to 36 Habitat houses.
I didnt want to apply [for a Habitat house] at first, says Adrian. Someone came to me and said, Why dont you want to apply? Put God to the test. And now, I am so glad I applied. There is no degree of comparison between the [former] living conditions and what we have now with our home. I feel fulfilled; we have peace and silence as a family. Our children are near the school; our neighbors are very nice. Our children made a lot of friends among the neighbors children. We are a new community.
The older Tapos children remember their previous housing situation. Says Catalin, 8: Mostly I like about my house that it is warm. Says Tudor, 11: There we didnt have friends, there werent children. Here there are many, many friends.