Francisca Hilaria Avila is 76 years old and has lived a hard life. Three of her four children are incarcerated. Her family situation is complicated and challenging creating much turmoil for Francisca and her daughter who live together in a small house made from tree branches, plastic, cardboard and old clay tile. Francisca makes a meager living by selling fruit in the local market. Regardless of her circumstances, she is known by the community as someone with deep faith in God and spends her time praying for others. It brought her incredible joy to learn that she was to be a recipient of a new home.
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Even though new home construction is always a detailed process, in Francisca’s case, the construction of her new home was an arduous one. However, at every step, the local church, community and even a visiting group students stepped in to support Francisca and her daughter.
The location of her property made it difficult to transport the materials. The project truck driver and his staff decided to fix the road to her house in order to be able to drop the materials closer to the construction site. Even so, the materials weren’t as close to the new site and Francisca worried about trying to haul them there herself. The church knew her situation and collaborated with the hired laborers from other construction sites to help Francisca get her home completed.
During this process, a group of U.S. students taking classes at ENLACE’s Center for Community Transformation offered to help. Under the direction of ENLACE’s church coaches and helped by community members, Francisca’s home was completed. It was a moment in which many different groups rallied together and completed a common goal. An overwhelming sense of joy was everywhere. Overcome by gratefulness and more than a little disbelief, Francisca shed many tears. She and her daughter now live in a house with dignity and with an experience that will create meaningful connections long into the future.