Choices. How many are we fortunate enough to make every day? And how can we maximize someone else’s ability to afford a life that allows for more choice? Someone like our lovely homeowner Tania.
Tania is a 32-year-old single mom with two children ages 11 and seven. She only went to school through grade nine, which is further than most children in Nicaragua make it. Primary education is compulsory and free in Nicaragua but secondary and university education is a luxury most cannot afford.
Tania worked for four years as a maid with a salary of $100 USD/month. During our time with her she’d secured a new job at a local cigar factory making little more. Still, she has steady employment. She’s working hard for her children to have a brighter future. In Tania’s own words, “It is a great blessing to me to have a new house. My old house is insecure and I was a victim of theft twice. This house is for my children so that they can have a secure and clean place to live.”
On our last day together we are not moving earth, laying block or mixing concrete. We are celebrating because Tania’s house is nearly complete. It won’t be long until the roof is raised, the doors and windows are installed and the paint dry. We try to find the strength to say goodbye to people we care about. We are filled with joy yet sad to see our time together come to an end. There are words spoken, a ribbon cutting, music, a piñata and a lot of hugging.
The new house? Twenty-four square meters. That’s about 260 square feet. Yet it represents a world of difference. I love being a part of how Habitat helps people to have more choice. Having a home built on a solid foundation, with locking doors and windows, lighting, proper sanitation and a roof that doesn’t leak means that kids can do homework after dark, clothing remains dry and clean, germs don’t have a fighting chance and property is outside the grasp of thieves.
Having these basic things might lead to a better job, a higher education, a secure tomorrow or just spending a little more time with loved ones enjoying the moment. I’m excited to see what Tania and her family choose.