November 21, 2009
COSTA RICA—Biscuits, grilled tamale, cheese tortilla, hash and caramels are some of the options that Cecilia, or Ceci as she is know in the town, prepares with much love for the lunch hour diners.
Age is no issue for Ceci. At 68, she is in charge of cooking in the house. Five years ago Habitat for Humanity helped Cecilia and her daughter, Clarita, have adequate housing. Before that they had rented, but longed to own a home.
“Clarita is a very hard-working woman. Before she would eat, she preferred to pay for the house because it’s ours.” This is what Ceci says about her daughter, the head of the household, who has also raised her ten-year-old daughter, María Angélica. Ceci, Claria and María Angélica, live in the house that Habitat constructed five years ago. From the moment they had help from the organization, the family started their business of selling lunch and pastries. With business cards and a menu both prepared by HFHCR staff, Clarita began working on their catering service. She visited the community banks, businesses and friends, offering their food services. From the house, Ceci prepared the lunches and employees of businesses come to pick up their order. On the weekends, Ceci prepares caramels, breads and other foods, which they offer door to door.
“The advantage is that now many people know us. Sometimes dawn clears and when I see that it’s 10 in the morning and no one has called to order, I worry. But God is good and someone calls to order food, and with that we have a job.”
“My mom taught me to cook and thank God that people like my food. Thanks to this little work from the house I can be with my granddaughter for lunch and help her while she studies,” said Ceci. She also does other jobs, like ironing, from her house. The neighbors pay her per piece, giving the family the resources to pay for the housing and an additional loan that they acquired to expand the kitchen.
This is a living example of how housing is a cornerstone in the development of the families. A house is much more than a roof with four walls, and for many families it is a fundamental cornerstone for achieving the economic and social development they desire.
Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Costa Rica, translation by Kelsey Halena.