Juan and Berenis have been working with Habitat these last few months to build a home for their daughter, Camila, so she might prosper with a family that can continue growing and moving forward. The couple recently shared the struggles they faced in the five moves they had to make after their marriage and Camila's birth, all of which took them one step closer to finding the house they could finally call a home. After the couple had said their “I do’s”, Juan and Berenis, along with their daughter Camila, made five moves in the course of four years. From one home to the next, Juan and Berenis struggled to find a home suitable for their family of three. Beginning at Juan’s father’s home, the small family began the long and incredibly painful struggle of living with no air conditioning. “It was super hot”, Berenis recalls. Her husband, Juan, nods in agreement.
Though his wife often has to translate english for him, it is easy for him to recognize that one word that surely took hold of his family’s life - “hot”. From Juan’s father’s home, they moved on to his mother’s home, also lacking in space and air conditioning. The three of them confined to one room, Juan and Berenis attempted desperately to raise their daughter as best they could. Possibly for her sake alone, they continued their move, landing in Berenice's father’s house in Mexico. The house had one, small window air conditioning unit, and Berenis remembered the hot rays of sun beating down on her and her family in that Mexico home. “We were pretty much stuck to one room”, Berenis says. The last shared home Juan and Berenis moved into with their daughter was Berenis's parents’ house in the U.S. “There were eight of us, including my cousin”, said Berenis. The three of them lived in the basement of their family’s home, and though they finally acquired a home with air conditioning, they wanted a separate home for Camila to grow up.
The commute to work is fifteen minutes for the two, and the house does not provide enough space for them to continue building their family. Through Habitat for Humanity, the two have begun to build. Berenis translates for Juan, explaining, “There are no words to describe how great he feels that he will have a house for the children we will raise together. We will build our future and their education here.”
After beginning to build their own home and help build other homes, Juan and Berenis have begun to learn more than they thought they ever would from Habitat’s Home Buyer Education Classes. “It’s good for us to know what a mortgage is, what a principle is, what an escrow means. It’s important to know what you’re buying, and what it’s going towards.”, Berenis comments on the classes they had taken together. Berenis and Juan have also done volunteer work in the ReStore, recalling that learning how to use customer service and how to help people in a work environment was an incredibly helpful skill they have now both acquired. Berenis translates for Juan, “If there’s people out there looking for something to do, volunteer. Go to the ReStore, help out with hours on our home or other homes. It will help our future and other people’s futures a lot.”
The two have begun to learn more about each other as well as they have continued to put forth great amounts of effort into the building of their own home and other homes. “We’ve learned how to do siding together, flooring together, and painting together. We try the best we can to do it together”, Berneis says. When it’s all over, when each screw has been drilled, when each floorboard has been set, Juan and Berenis will always have a bond through the house they built together from the ground up.
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