Much happier and safer

In October 1998, Hurricane Mitch blasted Central America just a month after the devastation of Hurricane Georges. One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever, Mitch dumped more than 2 feet of rain in a single day in some areas, erasing whole towns and causing a reported 19,000 deaths.

In El Salvador, Emilio Gomez lived with his wife Ana Arquidia and their three children in a shelter with tin walls and coconut palms for a roof. After Mitch left only their kitchen standing, the family moved into that one room and started to rebuild, using the same flimsy but inexpensive materials.

Ana Rosemary colors in her grandparents' Habitat home.

Then a Habitat loan enabled the family to build a sturdy concrete block home with a separate kitchen and room to expand. Today, the grown children still live at home, mostly working as farmers, and they’ve added a granddaughter, 2-year-old Ana Rosemary, who has a safe space to crawl and learn to walk.

“My life is much happier and safer,” Emilio says. “It is wonderful what Habitat for Humanity does; I thank God for having found them.”