C O R E M E M B E R S
Anton, Charlotte, Jairo, & Eli
Arturo, Norma, Arturo Jr., & Gabriel
Take one step inside the Martinez family’s home and you immediately feel the warmth and love this family shares with each other, their family, and their friends. The walls are adorned with a variety of pictures, art, and finished puzzles. Wind chimes occasionally jingle unless you manage to avoid the various chimes hanging both inside and outside the home. If you’re lucky enough to catch them at the right time, the smell of Arturo’s tamales or Norma’s pozole (hominy and pork soup) fills the home. In the next room, Arturo Jr. and his girlfriend play video games to take a break from studying for their upcoming chemistry test. Then, as you step out the back door onto their amazing back deck (complete with a large Southern Magnolia tree coming right up through a framed opening), Arturo and Norma’s son Gabriel whizzes by on his roller-scooter, chased by fellow Alterna kid, Eli.
Arturo and Norma have two sons, Arturo Jr. and Gabriel. Arturo works as a painter and carpenter, but enjoys fishing, cooking, and playing soccer in his free time. Norma provides childcare during the day, and enjoys doing crafts such as making piñatas or paper flowers. She likes to listen to Cumbia music from Colombia. Like many high schoolers, Arturo Jr. likes to play video games whenever possible, but prioritizes his studies and family. Occasionally, he translates for other Latino friends and family when they have need. Gabriel – or Gaby – likes playing games and sports, making crafts and, as he says, “building stuff.”
The Martinez’s have lived in LaGrange since 2002 and have strongly invested in the neighborhood. The neighborhood kids can often be found tossing a football or throwing a Frisbee in their front yard, which is slightly larger, flatter, and more open than most yards nearby. Friends and neighbors have also been involved in planting, weeding, tilling, and harvesting in the community garden next to their house (on their land). They are generous in sharing the eggs laid by their chickens housed in a coop in their backyard. For birthday parties, Norma will make a piñata, which Arturo controls to fool the blindfolded person as he or she swings.
One couldn’t ask for a better neighbor than the Martinez family and it’s obvious to see why they are co-founders of Alterna. As you get to know them and spend time with them, it isn’t long before you feel like part of the family.
C O O P E R A T I V E H O U S I N G M E M B E R S
Enrique, Miriam, America, & Santiago
Known for their hospitable and humorous personalities, as well as for their tasty meals, Enrique and Miriam Guzman have been a part of Alterna’s cooperative housing family ever since their arrival to the United States.
Enrique, originally from Veracruz, Mexico, moved to LaGrange in 2002 and began work at a local mill. Miriam, who is from Mexico City, followed him in 2003 along with their daughter, America. Enrique enjoys fishing and eating tamales. Miriam enjoys listening to music, dancing, and watching T.V. Her favorite foods are milanesa and Mexican spaghetti.
Enrique and Miriam’s two children, America and Santiago, attend school in LaGrange. America enjoys swimming, listening to music, and eating pizza. When she gets older, America wants to serve children, either as a kindergarten teacher or a pediatrician. “Santi” enjoys dancing, swimming, and visiting the countryside. His favorite foods are spaghetti, sopes, and quesadillas.
The Guzman family radiates the friendliness and hospitality characteristic of Alterna. They’ve been a blessing to us all!
Anacely, Darinel, Jordy, & Helen
Anacely grew up in La Laguna, Huehuetenango, Guatemala near the Mexican border. When she came to the U.S., she was 17. She lived in Florida for a while with her mom, and then moved to LaGrange, where she married Dari, had Jordy and Helen, and got a job working in a carpet mill. Her husband, Darinel, is from Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. His six siblings live in Guatemala, Mexico, and California. He came to LaGrange in 2006 as a 17-year-old, following Anacely. He currently works as a painter and dreams of building a house in Guatemala.
Jordy, their oldest child, loves trains, chickens, and puppies. He’s mischievous and will try to get away with anything using his charming smile. Helen loves imitating her brother, eating things she finds on the floor, and drinking out of cups.
Donaldo, Osvilda, Donaldo Jr., & Jade
A quiet, friendly, and hard-working family from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, the de Leons have lived with the Alterna community since 2009. Before coming to the U.S. in 1998, Donaldo and Osvilda grew and harvested coffee in the hills of El Chalum, La Libertad. Now, Donaldo does maintenance work at the Kia plant in LaGrange, while Osvilda works at a local carpet mill. They also raise chickens and rabbits, which they sell for eggs or meat.
Donaldo and Osvilda have two children: Donaldo and Jade. Little Donaldo enjoys doing karate. His favorite subject is science, and he plays trombone. Jade takes ballet lessons, her favorite color is pink, and she enjoys playing outside with her brother, as well as with other Alterna kids. Her favorite foods are pizza and chicken nuggets.
Donaldo Sr. enjoys buying old cars and fixing them up in his free time. He has two siblings who also live in the U.S. When Osvilda’s not working, she stays busy taking the kids to karate and ballet lessons, as well as tending their chickens and rabbits. However in her future free time, she would love to travel more.