Meeting the latest SL Habitat family

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In the six years that Claudia Ramirez and her four children have resided in Buena Vista County they've moved three times. Soon they will be moving one more time, however, this time, it is to a new home and a new life.

Their new home, which will be the ninth home the Buena Vista County Habitat for Humanity chapter has built since 1999, will be located on Rose Lane. Construction is set to begin this spring. For Claudia, it is a chance to give her children a better and more stable home.

"The house I live in now is in bad condition," said Ramirez. "(The partnership means a lot because) I'll be paying for something that will be mine and not something I'm renting." Although homes Habitat for Humanity builds are not giveaways, they partner with families of lower income. Volunteer labor and donations help lower the cost of the homes. Ramirez, now a single mother, says she found out about Habitat for Humanity through a friend. When Ramirez and her family moved to Storm Lake from Texas to start a job at Tyson Foods, she says they only planned to stay for six months. Now six years later they're still here.

"I liked it here. I liked the school. It was quiet," she said. She moved to Iowa after her brother-in-law told her about a job opening at Tyson. She is still currently employed at Tyson in statistical process control . Her two oldest children Lydia, 14 and Rodrigo 12 attend Storm Lake Middle School and enjoy playing sports. "I like playing soccer and basketball. I'm also in track," said Lydia."I usually play a lot of basketball at school," said Rodrigo. He said he also enjoys math and reading.

Her two youngest children, Claudia, 10 and Rigoberto, 8 attend North School. "I like to clean up after myself and my cat," said Claudia. "I like soccer and basketball and Iike to swim at King's Pointe. For vacation (this summer) we might to go Texas." Rigoberto said he enjoys skateboarding.

He said he wants to get a dirt bike when he moves into his new house and dreams of having a basketball court and swimming pool in the house. "He's (Rigoberto) pretty crazy,"said Lydia chuckling.

Ramirez said she also enjoys riding her bike with her children, taking them to the park and jumping on the trampoline with them. "They like for me to tickle them," she added. The children also enjoy caring for their three pets, Flower, a cat; Spike, a Chihuahua; and Cookie, a guinea pig and plan to bring them with them to their new home. "They don't want to leave them," said Ramirez.

"That's what I'm looking forward to most, to have a house for us," she said. "They' (my children) are happy because they're going to have a house." Ramirez, who is required to help assist the volunteers with building her house through "sweat equity hours," as part of the partnership with Habitat said she remembers helping her father build a home when she was younger. She says they had to mix the cement by hand and transport it around with a wheelbarrow - she looks forward to more advanced building techniques.

She moved from Mexico to Texas as a child, and has several realtives now in Storm Lake.

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