When Janvier and Henriette came to the Habitat office for the first time, they were so happy.  They were happy because they had met friends in Cedar Rapids that bought a home through Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s like a dream” said Janvier because they never thought it would be possible to be to afford a home of their own. He adds “I didn’t have money for a downpayment. When I am working (on my house), I see my house, I think “that is my house” Now I can go there, it’s really exciting."

 The couple are survivors of the Rwandan genocide.  They have had a long journey to get to Waterloo, Iowa.

 They currently live in a 2 bedroom apartment, but they constantly have to worry about their neighbors, who complain about hearing their girls playing.

Henriette always has to say “Stop playing, stop running.” She adds “It’s very hard and sometimes I want to cry for the kids”

At night, Henriette carries the kids on her back.  She looks forward to their new home for the girls. “They can move, they play and have a kids life.  Where we live now it’s like a prison for them. In the house, they will be very, very happy. They can have toys, they can jump!”


The apartment where they live is surrounded by parking lots, so there is no place outside for the girls, either.


Their home will be ready to move in in November.


While both Janvier and Henriette speak excellent English her metaphor for a weight lifted off her shoulders: “Its like something on your head and put down.”


She appreciates what lies ahead. “Now we can plan our future, now we can do what we want.  A home is a good base for life.”


Janvier smiles and says “We are really excited.  We are living in good dream. We want to thank everyone who come.  God Bless you.”