banner image
‘You smile with us’ -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

‘You smile with us’

Costa Rican Habitat homeowner Chacon Contreras journals the lasting effects of Habitat’s work.



Chacon Contreras and her family were introduced to Habitat as a direct result of the involvement and support of Habitat volunteers Dave and Judy Osgood.

What follows are excerpts from a hand-written journal Contreras sent Habitat Costa Rica to illustrate the changes she had experienced in her journey to homeownership.

Two months ago,
I applied for housing assistance through an organization called “Desarrollador del Sol.” However, the day before yesterday, I received bad news. Eight other neighbors in Santo Domingo and I don’t qualify, since we earn less than 120,000 colones (US$215) per month.

An hour ago, a woman called us. She said that she worked with Habitat for Humanity. Her name is Marjorie Quesada, and she told us that there is a North American family called the Osgoods. They donate money to Habitat, and in partnership with COOPEALIANZA, we can possibly then borrow the money at a very low interest rate.

We are extremely happy.

Today is Feb. 7, 2008.
It’s 4:45 p.m., and I am in my house! My kids no longer have to sleep three to a bed or in a shack where the few things we have get soaked. My son Keylor, 13 years old, can’t stop crying, while Jeferson, 7, and Maria Fernanda, 6, are running all over the place. We are happy: crying, laughing, yelling. Today, we have a home; we are a Habitat family.

Today, we received
the financial education course, and it was a great success. It’s the second financial education course that Habitat has offered in my community, and I want to tell you that this course has taught us so much and also provided us with tools for saving money. We’ve even been thinking about forming an association of women, in order to start a small business and generate jobs for our families and community. The financial education course, in addition to providing tools for saving, has also given us a new goal.

Today, Habitat organized
a huge party for the children, with the new Habitat families. Thanks, Habitat, for making us part of your family.

With tears in my eyes, I thank you for your efforts and your daily fight on behalf of poor families. But I also thank you for your social sensibility, because you smile with us; because you cry with us; because you have taught us that we have to fight to achieve our goals.

Thank you for always being with us. Thank you because you have taught me that I should not only need, but also give. Thank you for helping families to stay together, although they face thousands of difficulties. Thank you for accompanying us in every step.

Habitat does not only provide shelter. It gives us happiness. It provides motivation and optimism. It provides confidence. It provides quality of life.

Thank you, friends, for having given so much in exchange for nothing.