“We came here for our safety and security. In our country there was a war, and it is not secure like here,” explains Marie.
Marie & Samy know their new Habitat home will create that lasting sense of stability that their family longs for.
Originally from the Republic of Congo, Marie, Samy, and their 5 children have lived in Tucson the past 2 years. Their oldest son is preparing to study at Pima this August, with an emphasis in web design. Their oldest daughter is in her senior year of high school, and looks forward to pursuing college after graduation. With the littlest entering first grade, they’re excited to have a home large enough to support their growing family.
Right now, their 3-bedroom apartment is too tight for the seven family members. Three boys share a single bedroom with small beds, and the girls share a space, without room to store their clothes and belongings in their shared closet.
There’s no room for the youngest children to play, and when one of their bathrooms had plumbing issues, the whole family used the same bathroom. “We have to be patient for a few months,” says Marie.
They were thrilled to get the call from Habitat that they were accepted into the homeowners’ program!
“We are happy because a Habitat house, a new house and we are thinking that you can get more space,” says Marie. “And also to pay—the monthly payment will not hard for us to pay.” For less than they pay right now for their apartment, Marie and Samy will be able to purchase a much more spacious home for their large family.
“And we will be the OWNERS of the house. It is more comfortable, more safe, more stable. It will be so good for us,” says Marie.
As a construction engineer, Samy especially loved completing his sweat equity on the build site.
“He’s looking at how the houses are made in America,” says Marie.
“The way they build here is different from the way we build in our country,” says Samy. “When we worked at the build site, we saw that these Habitat houses were very strong. They are good houses! I’m learning from that experience, and we’ll know how to do things in the future.”
Marie loves how empowering it feels to build her home with her own two hands. “I know how to take the hammer and nail and—bang!” she says, laughing, holding an imaginary hammer. “I also know how to use the machine to cut the wood. We use the machine, we are learning—that’s fun.”
The family of seven has been working as a unit to prepare for homeownership, with the older kids helping complete sweat equity at the build site and HabiStore. “At the HabiStore, we have the experience of working in the warehouse, and it’s great for my daughter especially,” says Marie.
For Samy, the house alone isn’t the best part. “With Habitat, we live in a community, in a neighborhood, we know each other—it’s a good, safe neighborhood.”
Marie adds, “We know each other because we go to the site to work, and the HabiStore. We work together and we know them. We are like one family.”