Doña Modesta del Carmen Ocampo Ñurinda, her husband José Ángel Suazo García and their two sons, Jimmy, 24, Francisco, 22, and daughter-in-law Isamara Ortiz were one of the first families in the community of Comején 1, Masaya, Nicaragua to receive a new Bridges home in January 2017.
At the time, Doña Modesta’s family was living in a home of rotten wood and old zinc and were unable to save enough to build a new home in better condition. Doña Modesta says, “We would never have been able to build a concrete house. It costs too much money; we could never save enough. We tried to repair one wooden board at a time as we could save enough to do so, but it would always have been the same type of house that damages easily.”
In 2017, Don José and Jimmy provided the only source of income, working in agriculture and selling firewood. They earned about 5,600 córdobas (approximately $167 USD) a month. With this money, the family was able to make ends meet and were especially insistent that Francisco, a junior in high school at the time, continue his studies.
Last year, the family raised two pigs to sell and, with their earnings, constructed a 24 square meter roofed patio attached to the front of the house. Doña Modesta has started using this area to make hammocks to sell. She decided to start this business to supplement the family income now that Jimmy and Isamara have moved out and no longer contribute to the household. She makes between 1600 and 1800 córdobas a month (approximately $50 USD) extra for her family.
Doña Modesta says, “During these three years that I have had the new home, the new house has allowed me to develop my work making hammocks, and I feel proud that I can contribute to help with the family expenses. I must contribute now that we are going through a difficult time in my country.”
Francisco did finish high school in 2018 and was very happy to achieve this goal. He wanted to study Saturdays at university; however, because of the difficult situation in Nicaragua, the price of all goods and services has increased and he has had to contribute to the family finances. Francisco works in the free trade zone factories, earning 3,000 cordobas (approximately $89 USD) monthly.
The family has also built a small kitchen next to the house with the materials from their old home.
The family is extremely grateful for the Bridges home. Doña Modesta says, “Thanks to [Bridges], today we have a better home, more space, and we are much more comfortable. Our home is cleaner, as we no longer have a dirt floor, and we all feel comfortable being able to leave the house to work now that it is more secure.”