September 23, 2009
PARAGUAY—Three families’ houses will soon be finished, thanks to the partnership of Habitat for Humanity Paraguay and several local companies: Gas Corona, JF Cacavelos and Record Electric. Habitat talks with these families as they share their experiences:
“This is for our children”
Luis Torres – Gas Corona
Luis Anibal Torres Benitez is a plumber and has been working for “Gas Corona” for almost two years as an officer of the maintenance department. In recognition of his commitment to the job, Don Luis was nominated by the directors of his company as a beneficiary of the alliance formed between Habitat for Humanity and Gas Corona. The family began the process in May and is nearly finished with the construction of their new home.
Luis met his wife Teresa Leiva more than 30 years ago and five years later they married. They now have nine children.
Luis tried several times to expand his home, in order to accommodate the ever-increasing family size. However, it was almost impossible to gather all the materials needed in order to complete the project. "My dream always was to change this ranch for a house into something more suitable for my children," he says.
In the month of May, they learned of Habitat for Humanity through Gas Corona Directors. Teresa recalls the selection process. "At first we tried not to get too excited, but we then began to advance in the selection process and so each time he came from work I would ask if he had not heard anything about the house. Finally, one day he came and told me, ‘I bring you good news, the project was accepted!’”
The new house includes two bedrooms, a kitchen and bathroom. The walls are made of brick, it has a cement floor and the ceiling is covered with Spanish tiles. The construction includes electrical and sanitary installations. In addition, the project has succeeded in using the existing foundation and this was taken as part of his contribution to build the house.
Currently, there are two masons working on the project. Dona Teresa supports everything that she can to help and Luis pitches in when he is not working at the plant. In 30 days the house will be finished.
Don Luis is very grateful for the support that they have received from his company (Gas Corona). This alliance with Habitat for Humanity allowed the Torres family to receive all the support they needed to build better housing, "we received all the materials at once, which is essential! They are giving us the opportunity to pay according to our possibilities, "remarked Mrs. Teresa. First came a truck and dropped the cement, then a truck came with the sand, and then a truck came with a massive amount of bricks; I got really scared, I could not believe it. When they neighbors pass by, they ask me: did you find ivyvy (under-ground treasure in Guarani), or what”?
Dona Teresa feels that this achievement is important as it is giving her children a wonderful opportunity, a life different from her own. "I never had a nice house to live, but for them it will be different”. Don Luis also ensures that this will help his self-esteem and his ability to give his children a better future: Thank God we are fulfilling this dream. This house is not just for us, this is for our children.
A young couple achieves their plan
Héctor Núñez – Record Electric
Hector Núñez is an official of the firm's administrative area of Record Electric. Under the partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Hector was selected and is now in the midst of building his home in the neighborhood of San Lorenzo Barcequillo.
This dream of having a new home is nothing new for Hector and his wife Milva Delgadillo; they have had this dream for a long time. Hector and Milva were classmates at Saturio Rios in San Lorenzo when they got married. They married in March of this year and began their life together of living together in the house of Milva’s parents. "It was hard because we didn’t have the money to build a new home and it is the dream of every newly married couple to have their own place," recalls Milva.
To their surprise, the opportunity came through an invitation from his company. They then submitted the application and before they knew it, the walls and the floor were being constructed. They plan to have the house completed in 2 months; a house with two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and a bathroom.
But Hector and Milva are supported by their families, especially by Hector’s father who visits them daily and makes sure the work does not stop. "We had our savings, but never enough to build the entire house, only a fraction of it. In fact, all of our plans have now been completed”!
Better housing for a big family
Venancio Rivas – JF Cacavelos Despachos Aduaneros
Venancio Rivas has been working for JF Cacavelos for 17 years. He is a father of five, the youngest twelve years old. Venancio feels very fortunate to be able to build a better home for his family in the Barrio Santa Librada de Mariano Roque Alonso. "We all have this dream of owning our own house," he says.
The land where the construction took place was acquired by Venancio several years ago where he succeeded in building two bedrooms and a bathroom. Now with the newly completed expansion, he added two more bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and upgraded the bathroom.
To realize the dream of Venancio, his company contributed 25% of the investment that was taken from Habitat’s Rotating Fund. Venancio is doing his part by paying the necessary amount and by putting in his sweat equity hours: "We work closely with the builders, preparing the cement mix, hauling bricks ..."
"We are more than delighted with the house! It is for our children and this is part of the responsibility of being a parent. Thanks to Habitat for Humanity and my bosses, they fulfilled the dream of owning a home more suitable for my family, "he said.
“Estamos muy contentos con la casa, es para nuestros hijos y parte de la responsabilidad que tenemos de ser padres. Gracias a Hábitat para la Humanidad y a mis jefes, se cumplió el sueño de tener una vivienda más adecuada para mi familia”, concluyó.
For more information on Habitat’s work in Paraguay, visit their online profile .
Claudia Caballero is the Volunteer Mobilization Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity Paraguay.