The American Dream: Tragedy and Triumph

Receiving a Habitat for Humanity home has been one of the greatest blessings our family has ever received. We immigrated to America with $500 in our pockets and hopes of the American Dream in our hearts. Owning our own land and raising our family in a safe and loving home has always been central to that dream. For our family, with two of our three children having Cerebral Palsy, owning a space that could accommodate them was always especially important to us, but always seemed unattainable. Our first years in the US were characterized by our moves between multiple apartment complexes in low income areas with high crime rates and drug infestations. The sounds of music and gunshots were often heard through the night. We lived all cramped together for almost a decade before God gave us the beautiful gfti of a home.

When we received our Habitat for Humanity home back in 2009, it was as though a decade of prayers had suddenly been answered all at once. We were suddenly transported into a safe and quiet neighborhood into a home with an expansive garden and enough rooms to house all of us. We had trouble sleeping the first few nights in the house as the noise we’d grown so accustomed to hearing throughout the night was no longer there. The silence was almost frightening.

Eventually we grew appreciative of the silence and began a new life in our home. We celebrated birthdays, Christmases, and got to know our neighbors. Unfortunately, in the fall of 2011, we found out that our oldest son, Yohenes, was diagnosed with terminal liver cirrhosis. He passed away in June of the following year. He spent his last days and breathed his last breath in our house and we have since turned his room into our family prayer room. Additionally, our youngest son, Yonas, graduated from high school and will be celebrating his graduation from Yale University with two degrees in Sociology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. We will also be celebrating his successes in our home.

This house has been one of the greatest blessings we’ve received as a family. It stands as a monument to our family and allows us to remember where we have been and keep our eyes fixed on the promise of what God has for us in the future. is home has grown with us and shaped itself to become what we’ve needed – a safe refuge, a place of mourning, and a place of celebration.

Owning a home is central to attaining the American Dream and helping others to achieve their dreams is the American way.