In the poorest areas of highland Guatemala, improper building materials, a lack of appropriate resources, and unsustainable architectures turn houses to rubble in the blink of an eye. Many indigenous families live in makeshift homes that are constructed of nothing more than cornstalk or cardboard walls with dirt floors. Living in these conditions strips families of their dignity and hope, while fueling chronic health problems.
From House to Homes enters the indigenous communities to work with some of the poorest of Guatemalan families to replace a cornstalk shack with a block home that is culturally appropriate, and affordable to maintain. This 13 X 19 block home has a great impact on the family. A door they can lock provides them with a deeper sense of security, a roof that will protect them from the elements, and a window to provide light into the home. A corn stalk shack can wash away during rainy season without warning, however this sturdy block home will alleviate this threat.. The home is stucco, and painted by colors chosen by the homeowner. At the end of the week when the home has been completed, the families find it difficult to express their deep gratitude to the volunteers. For all involved, this is a fulfilling, and emotional experience. Though many of the indigenous families speak only a Mayan dialect, and communication can be challenging; smiles, laughter, and joyful tears are universal.
After Shelter: What Comes Next?