A brand-new, five-bedroom house on Maple Lane was filled with tears Saturday morning.
A mother blinked away emotion as an imam led the group inside in prayer. A son spoke with joy, praising the community around him and earning a playful ribbing by a sister. A father said few words, save what seemed most heart-felt: “Thank you.”
On Saturday, Habitat for Humanity of Lawrence dedicated its 80th house, giving it to the Hameed family, who emigrated from Nigeria in 2003. It’s the biggest house Habitat has built in its 23-year-history, but it’s not done yet. Earlier in the week, someone broke into the house. But the morning blessing wasn’t about hardship but a celebration of the family and the volunteers who helped make it happen.
Asikat Hameed, the family matriarch, said that nothing before the dedication mattered — she was just excited to have friends and family there and to own her own home.
Her daughter, Mutiyat Hameed, is a student at Kansas City Kansas Community College and won’t be living in the home — “but I’ll visit every weekend!” she promised.
“I think my parents, everyone, they’re just really proud to have a house — happy, excited, but mainly proud,” Mutiyat said.
As volunteers and future Habitat homeowners looked around and children bobbed in and out of as-yet-unfurnished rooms, Kazeem Hameed, Asikat’s son, thanked the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority and others for their gifts. And he had a message, he said, from himself, his family and his father, Hameed Yusuf.
“This shows me that if you dream,” he said, “anything can come true.”