BUFFALO, NY- "When the civil war was landing into our country so we flew to Rwanda, and then we'd been in a refugee camp for almost thirteen years. So, that's how we got an opportunity to come to the U.S. So, we came to Buffalo from a Congolese refugee camp in Rwanda," said Joseph Mahangayiko.
That was nearly seven years ago for Joseph Mahangayiko and his wife Bernadette.
Coming to the U-S with practically nothing but the clothes on their backs Joseph and Bernadette never gave up their dream of someday owning a home for their family. That's when Habitat for Humanity of Buffalo came into the picture.
"This family is a new American family and they've been in the country for several years now, working with us on their "sweat equity" hours. They had to complete 50 hours of "sweat equity" in order to move into their new home," said Teresa Bianchi,Habitat for Humanity of Buffalo, Executive Director.
That mean working side by side with vocational students from the Potter's Road BOCES to build their dream home. Saturday they were officially given the keys to their new home. Teresa Bianchi of Habitat for Humanity says if theres' one thing she wants people to knows it's that these houses aren't free.
"It is not free. They pay a zero percentage interest mortgage over the next 30 years, and that includes their taxes and their insurance. It's hard as we all know you have to hold down a job to be able to pay back a mortgage and the fact that we're asking them to put in 500 hours of volunteer time on top of it, that's a big commitment," said Bianchi.
Along with the help of their son, it's a big commitment that's worth every penny to finally have place they can now call home.
"(What's the first thing you want to do to make this feel like home?) I will treat this house very nicely and I will treat my house, and I feel like even after a hundred years it will still look the same as today, because I like this house. I feel so happy about it," said Bernadette Uzamushaka.