For people in developed countries, it’s easy to complain about day-to-day inconveniences. Things like traffic, WiFi issues, and online order delays are generally at the top of our “what went wrong today” lists.
But many people around the world simply don’t have the luxury to worry about these trivial aggravations.
That’s why Redwood Gives Back, the charitable arm of Century 21 Redwood Realty, decided to team up with New Story starting in 2016, a charity committed to building homes for those in need. Thanks in large part to Redwood agents’ altruistic actions, for our most recent project, we constructed eco-block homes for several residents of Nacajuca, Mexico who desperately needed a remedied living situation.
Three Redwood agents in particular played pivotal roles in getting these projects completed. Diane Schline, Gary Hughes, and Kristin Burns all donated portions of their closings over the course of several years to help a community halfway across the continent.
Home to around 85,000 people, Nacajuca is about 2,000 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Residents are constantly wrestling with extreme temperatures, devastating floods, poverty, and crime.
For Nacajuca locals Trinidad, Viviana, and Beatriz, these issues were an everyday occurrence prior to moving into their new homes. Here are the real stories of these three Nacajuca residents whose lives were changed thanks to the efforts from Redwood Gives Back.
Trinidad was 64 years old when New Story first met her. She possesses an infectious personality with a larger-than-life presence that dwarfs her five-foot stature. Despite her jovial temperament, life has rarely been easy for her.
She doesn’t have a high school degree and both her mother and sister died young. After several other obstacles, she lost her home and eventually resorted to squatting in a house comprised of galvanized metal. With temperatures often reaching 100 degrees, it’s hard for the average American to realize how brutal and unbearable this living situation was.
Fortunately, with the help of Redwood Gives Back, she was able to move into an eco-block home last November. Although she lives alone, she is keeping her house open to those in need—a testament to her character and unwavering optimism in the face of tremendous adversity.
Viviana and Her Two Children, Alina & Luis Santiago
Viviana and her two children, Alina and Luis Santiago had struggled to find a permanent home following the death of her husband. They often resorted to cramped apartments or shared rooms while trying to make ends meet.
The pandemic further complicated the situation, and they moved in with Viviana’s mother-in-law—an overcrowded arrangement that quickly ran its course.
They often stayed in places with no kitchen or shared common rooms. Overcrowded living conditions is a major issue in the region, often causing disease and other complications. When this is combined with the mosquitos and flooding from nearby rivers, the implications can be catastrophic.
Thankfully, the family’s circumstances look significantly different now. In November 2021, they moved into a new eco-block home. The kids attend a nearby school and Viviana has easy access to groceries and the downtown area.
“I’m very happy that my kids will have stability and more space. We waited for a house of our own for so long, about three years…I lost hope that this was it,” Viviana says. “I’m so grateful. We finally have a secure home with good neighbors.”
For Beatriz, security has always been of paramount concern. Following her divorce, she was forced to rent a cramped space in downtown Nacajuca.
For over a decade, she lived there in fear due to the unsafe neighborhood. She faced an agonizing dilemma every evening; does she keep the windows closed to keep out danger or open them to mitigate the high temperatures? Whatever her decision was, it would be a sleepless night.
Fast forward to 2021, and that conundrum no longer exists. She received the keys to her eco-block home last November with her daughters on either side of her.
She feels comfortable opening her windows—and for the first time in a long time, she’s able to enjoy cooler temperatures in her own home. Beatriz can even have her grandkids over without worrying about their safety.
These are just three of the many stories out of Nacajuca. We’re filled with immense pride seeing the impact that our owners and agents have had on this community.
Redwood Gives Back is such an integral part of our DNA and we couldn’t be more proud of our agents for getting involved in these types of projects.
For more information, click here to learn more about how we are committed to the communities we serve and beyond.