Since she joined the program, Felicia immediately felt part of a bigger community.
Felicia’s been learning how to build homes, how to fix homes, and met new friends along the way. The program is empowering her, she says, where she can to be independent down the road. When she imagines her future, she imagines raising her two sons—Evrard who is 20, and Fidele who just turned 18—in a safe, stable forever home.
Felicia grew up in a refugee camp in West Africa. She was able to come to America in 2004, but could not afford to bring over her two young boys, who were both under the age of 5 at the time.
For twelve long years, she worked hard as a housekeeper—making wages as low as five dollars per hour—and saved so she could bring her boys to live with her here in Tucson. For those twelve years, she was only ever able to speak with them on the phone. And she missed them terribly.
“When I came here to America,” Felicia says, “I saw other people’s kids playing around them. I just went inside to cry and cry. But there was nothing I could do.”
Now that the whole family is reunited, their new struggle is finding a safe place to live. They currently share a crowded 2-bedroom apartment. The complex doesn’t feel safe. There are loud arguments, drug use, and frequent police presence. Felicia arrives home from work around 2:00 in the morning, and often the apartment fighting is so pervasive, she can’t sleep. She’s thought about speaking to the landlord, but worries she’d be targeted by her neighbors. Instead, she keeps quiet and keeps to herself.
“But I guarantee I won’t have that problem with Habitat,” she says, smiling.
Her boyfriend Abu couldn’t be more proud of Felicia. “There is no country like America,” he says. “This is a country where people can able to get opportunities and build better life.”