‘Living with hope’ (part 2) -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
‘Living with hope’ (part 2)
Ryskiul and Bektur Usonov paid off their Habitat loan in 2010 and have since built a small guesthouse to accommodate visiting family and friends.
Q: What do you remember most about working with Habitat to build your house?
A: Every day, 20 or 30 people — future neighbors — were building our homes together. We were digging; doing concrete work; building foundations, walls and roofing works. We were dining, resting and having fun all together at the construction site. All of us had the same great feelings, the same thoughts and hopes for the future.
Living with hope was very important for us then. Every one of us was very excited and happy to work alongside the international volunteers. An English lady had given to me her watch for good luck. We still keep it safe. Every time I see it, I refresh my memories of those great days and friends.
Q: What do you enjoy about the community?
A: We look after each other. Once, a fire happened to our neighbor’s outhouse. It was extinguished quickly by a joint effort of the neighborhood. We know each other well and can fully rely on each other.
Q: How did the Habitat house change your family?
A: We gained confidence for the future. Before, our life consisted of uncertainty, concern and troubles. We were just existing and not living. We enjoy our lives now. I am able to help other relatives. I think I am living a meaningful life.
Q: What was your housing situation like growing up?
A: My wife and I are from the same village next to the Issyk Kul (a lake southeast of Bishkek in north-central Kyrgyzstan). My parents were schoolteachers, and we grew up during the time of the Soviet Union. At that time the state was responsible for providing and maintaining the housing.
Q: What kind of challenges do you face today?
A: We have no real difficulties. The little guesthouse in our backyard is completed. We bought small furniture for it. Hopefully, our son, Bakyt, will get married soon. He is grown up now. He had an internship with a mobile phone company and now is working for a commercial bank. He wants to earn some money and then get married.
Q: What are your best hopes for the future?
A: We are not the kind of people who want to be wealthy. We want our family to be in good health and our children to be happy. The most we want is to be happy parents enjoying family life, the children and our relatives and friends.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do now when you aren’t working?
A: We enjoy going to the countryside. We are fond of visiting friends and relatives and hosting them. Ryskiul and the kids like gardening — flowers and fruits and vegetables. I like the news, monitoring world and local politics, reading books and maintaining our family home with construction improvements I can do myself.
Q: What do you think about when you step back and look at your Habitat home now?
A: The most important thing is our daughter, Aida. She came to this world in our new house, and we are much happier now. Before moving into this Habitat house, we were younger and busy and did not notice how fast time was going. Aida brought us back to parenthood — the feelings we get when we hear her sweet voice.
Q: Since you paid off your Habitat mortgage, how has your family been spending its money?
A: We spent some money to build the guesthouse. As the winters got colder, I decided to insulate my house just to make sure my girls are safe. We also sometimes pay university fees to support Meerim and Shirin. Relatives should support each other.
Q: Where would you be if you did not have the Habitat house?
A: I have a friend who still has no house and has spent his life raising children in small, rented spaces. His daughter wants to get married soon, and he had to postpone the occasion, as he could not find a place to host the parents of his future son-in-law. I have offered him my place. From this example, I can see how my life would have gone without a partnership with Habitat.