After several years of eagerly waiting, the anticipation was at its maximum today when 80 families received keys to their new permanent homes. I was lucky enough to be able to attend this beautiful ceremony. Several speakers spoke about all the hard work that went into making this community a reality, many thanking TECHO for all the hard work, but the most touching came from several women leaders of the community who couldn’t be more excited for the newly found hope that accompanied the ownership of their new homes. They no longer had to worry about providing shelter, warm water, electricity, and preliminary protection for their children. To end the ceremony there was a traditional ribbon cutting and everyone was sent off. The excitement was thrilling when everyone dispersed to unlock the door to his or her new home for the very first time. TECHO volunteers were each assigned to several apartments to accompany the family in completing an inspection of the house.
The first family we helped was a couple with two little boys. Talking primarily to the woman of the household, we first administered an evaluation/survey given by Serviu – The Ministerio de Vivienda y Urbanismo (The Ministry of Housing and Urbanism) – the sector of the government that funds the permanent housing projects that TECHO works on. The first mother we talked to was illiterate so we read the survey out loud to her. After signing a few papers we went through the house inspecting every nook and cranny making sure everything was in place and functioning correctly: The lights, the outlets, the water, the plumbing, the doors and the windows. While the houses were small, two small bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs with a living room and a tiny kitchen downstairs, the families were ecstatic. We congratulated the the family, took a picture by the door with their new keys and moved on to inspect several more of the units.
The whole morning was exciting, happy and filled with emotion. These families had waited years for the slow process of applying and creating their new community to be complete and the day had finally come for them to see their new homes. Inaugurations like this one don’t happen that often so I was fortunate to have arrived the same week it was taking place. I couldn’t be happier for the families I met today, congratulations!