Casa Nueva: First a cane shelter, now a Mayan family home

Casa Nueva: First a cane shelter, now a Mayan family home

Crowdfunding Completed: December 28, 2018

Amount Funded: $2185

Project Owner: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities

Short Description of Project

This construction project will change the lives of everyone involved. We ask for your help to make it possible. A multi-generational group from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities (UUCQC) will build a lava-block house in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala, for a very poor family who currently lives in a shack between two coffee fields. We are raising money to pay for building materials: cement floor, roof, windows, doors, toilet, lava blocks, mortar, etc. Youth and adults will work together on a common goal: to improve the lives for one Guatemalan family while learning about their lives, struggles, culture, and traditions; they will form strong bonds with them as they demonstrate faith in action.

How was this project connected to UU?

This service learning trip is sponsored and supported by our UUA Congregation via the Immigration Project arm of our Social Justice Team and the Youth Religious Education Team. The participants are all adults or youth from our Congregation. Our congregation has a long, strong history of social action including several rebuilding projects.
Members of UUCQC, who originated and will work on this project believe this home-building effort supports UU principles, especially the first one: we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We believe that this family deserves decent housing as does everyone. The second and sixth principles speak to Justice. It is only right and just that this family has a safe place to live. The project will also bring people together from various ages and bridge cultural borders.

Full Description of Project

This construction project will change the lives of everyone involved. We ask for your help to make it possible. A multi-generational group from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities (UUCQC) will build a lava-block house in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala, for a very poor family who currently lives in a shack between two coffee fields.

We are raising money to pay for building materials: cement floor, roof, windows, doors, toilet, lava blocks, mortar, etc. Youth and adults will work together on a common goal: to improve the lives for one Guatemalan family while learning about their lives, struggles, culture, and traditions; they will form strong bonds as they demonstrate faith in action.

Project highlights:

UUCQC's Social Justice Team, Immigration Project and Youth Religious Education members will build a home for this Guatemalan family during a service-learning trip in July 2017.
The UUCQC's Social Justice Team/Immigration Project works on immigration issues in our local community. It advocates for policies and programs that help keep immigrant families together and in their community, lessening the necessity for emigrating to alleviate poverty.
The UUCQC youth will lend their labor to the building project and have many other cross-cultural opportunities, including staying with local Mayan families and taking their meals in these homes and restaurants, learning Spanish, and sightseeing around Lake Atitlan.
All participants in the trip will benefit by exposure to this culture, and it will enhance their spiritual development. All participants will formally and informally share their experience with our whole congregation, and we will all benefit from the experience.
An experienced Guatemalan construction manager (builder of the Banrural Bank in San Juan) has been selected by the project. Work will begin on the foundation (underground rock wall to stabilize the site) before participants arrive in July.
The multigenerational family who will live in this two-bedroom home (with bathroom and kitchen) will be working with UUCQC participants to help build their home.
The total cost of building materials is approximately $5,200. So far, about $2,000 has been raised. We hope to raise $2,000 through Faithify and the rest through smaller fundraisers planned in the winter and spring.
The ultimate outcome hoped for in addition to providing a much-needed home for the family in Guatemala is a more engaged congregation with immigrants and refugees in our local community.