Everything Habitat does is defined by our vision of creating a world where everyone has a decent place to live. One thing that makes a home decent is that it is safe - that it serves as a refuge from the threats of the outside world. Greater Matthews Habitat Homeowner Marie and her sons understand better than most the importance of home as a refuge - for over fifteen years they called a refugee camp in Rwanda home (read more about their journey here).
But now, after emigrating to the United States and living lease-to-lease in Charlotte's expensive apartment market solely on a fast-food restaurant worker's salary, Marie and her son Celestin have closed on their very own Greater Matthews Habitat home.
"I don’t know how to express myself, to say thank you. This is just so amazing, they just bought us an American dream", Celestin said, as he expressed his thank to all of our community partners during his and his mother's Home Dedication. "This is not the end, but just the beginning of the journey."
Celestin's brother, Innocent, says the whole thing feels both like a dream and a dream come true. "I never thought we would have a home…I thought we were going to be looking forever, but God has a plan for us...It’s a long story from where we were in Africa, it was a really bad place…a really bad place. We didn’t have no house. Of course the war, it was always moving around, moving around. We never had a place, or peace, so we could stay in one place. So finally we got here…but we didn’t know nobody-we met a lot of people. You know, they help us to get our dream – and that’s you – the Matthews Habitat."
The completion of Celestin and Marie's home marks a big moment for our affiliate as well - they were the last family on our waiting list, meaning they had been waiting five years for this home. "It’s a long story, ", Celestin said, "five years – but you guys had to be committed to not break the promise...for the family that comes all the way from the Congo all those years looking for refuge, and I’m pretty sure we found a refuge right now."
With the completion of Celestin & Marie's home, we plan to open applications for our homeownership program again in the next few months.