Maria Teresa and Jeronimo Perez Apen and their ten children live in the town of San Antonio Aguas Calientes, in the department of Sacatepequez. Walking up the steep dirt stairs to their house gives us a spectacular view of the valley and the Volcan de Agua. The family’s beautiful view was made even better with the construction of their Constru Casa home in 2006, one of our first homes.
The benefits of their new home are clear to the family. Before, their house made of cane was constantly letting cold air and rain in, resulting in the family often falling ill, the children missing school and their father unable to work regularly. Now, with their sturdy house, the family is much healthier and safer, and above all they have real hope for the future.
The seven oldest children of Maria Teresa and Jeronimo are fortunate enough to attend school through Constru Casa’s partner social organization, “Kubin Junan”. The eldest son Juan Carlos is 19 and is in his last year of high school. In addition to attending school, he works as a chef at a hotel in Antigua to help the family bring in more money.
The two oldest girls are very bright, Maria de los Angeles (18) and Nidia Roxana (17), and have set wonderful goals for their futures. Both plan to graduate next year and work toward their dream jobs. Maria de los Angeles would like to continue to study to be a Spanish teacher. Nidia would like to teach children through an organization and plans to get a job in a social project after she graduates.
“I am grateful for all the help we’ve received and I want to continue the work you (NGOs) do. I’d like to teach kids through a social project,” Nidia explained.
The middle boys, Sergio Armando (14) and Jose Jeronimo (14) both are very active in school and music. Sergio is currently learning to play the marimba and José is learning the drums. Esdras Saúl is 8 years old and in 3rd grade. He enjoys math and would one day like to follow in his brother’s footsteps and become a chef. With so many brothers and sisters, he often gets to help his mom cook meals and his favorite thing to make is scrambled eggs. Last, but not least, Silvia Liseth is 7 years old and in the first grade. Maria Teresa is proud of her older children and knows the three youngest children, Cristian, Pablo and Alisson, have great role models to look up to.
“We are so happy to have been able to stay on this land with our view, but with a safer and better house. Our house has been a big help in enabling my children to study and succeed and to give them hope for a better future,” Maria Teresa said.
In the years since the family received their house, they’ve been able to paint, add on a workshop for Jeronimo, maintain their garden, and have started to improve their bathroom. The family is hopeful that they’ll be able to begin their own small business selling eggs or growing corn. Maria Teresa and Jeronimo and their ten children are all very grateful and appreciative of the house they received and the vast improvements the house has allowed to their daily lives. We are proud of the successes the family of Maria Teresa and Jeronimo have experienced since their Constru Casa house was constructed and are excited to see what the future holds for the family.