Ramon and Guillermina grew up in the same impoverished village in Jalisco, Mexico. It was a village that had neither clean water nor economic opportunity.
Now 40 years old, Ramon came to America twenty years ago, first settling in California. He returned to his village ten years ago to marry the 19 year old Guillermina, who came back with him to Milwaukee. His brother and two sisters had already settled here because it was easier to find work and less expensive to live.
When they first arrived, Guillermina did temp work and Ramon worked in a restaurant. He now works at a commercial linen service while she stays home with their three young children. Ramon also owns a paleta (fruit popsicle) pushcart that he uses to earn extra money in summer.
It was Guillermina who first heard about ACTS while listening to a Spanish radio station. She learned that there was a house available for $5,000 and that they were looking for a family with three children.
Despite the certainty of everyone she knew, including Ramon, that it could not be possible to buy a three bedroom home for that amount of money, Guillermina persisted and soon found herself in a lottery with ten other families who also wanted to purchase the house.
Her persistence, and luck, paid off. She and Ramon now own their own Southside bungalow. With hard work from Ramon, a local handyman’s rehab services, and a home improvement loan from ACTS, they have been able to turn an empty, vandalized neighborhood eyesore into a stable owner-occupied home.
When asked how their lives had been affected by buying their house, Guillermina responded that her husband is now a much more “peaceful man.”
Ramon had always been worried about whether his income would be able to pay their bills. Now with their house payments saving them several hundred dollars a month in living expenses, this gentle, quiet man has been freed from constant worries about money.
He described a memory from his childhood of his father’s shame at never having any extra money to buy his children fruit at the village market. Now Ramon no longer worries about experiencing that same kind of shame.