The Mustafa Family

The Mustafa family receiving the keys to their new Habitat home. The Mustafa family receiving the keys to their new Habitat home.

Not just a new home - a new community

Abubakar (who goes by Abu) was born in Somalia. Both he and Halima grew up in Kenya, but they didn't know each other.  They independently spent time in refugee camps, immigrating to the U.S. at different times. Abu moved to Salt Lake City, and Halima to New York.  Abu was shocked to learn that we eat different food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In his experience, people ate when the food was ready, which may be once a day, and the food was often only mush made from wheat flour. Even to this day, Abu won't waste any food, eating every scrap of leftovers.

The community back in Somalia is very close-knit, keeping in touch with their people across villages and all 50 U.S. states.  Abu explained, "If anything big happens to one, we all chip in,"  which is especially important for ensuring that the people back home have food and basic needs during the dry season. Through that community network, Abu was connected with Halima's older brother, and they became friends. Abu and Halima met for the first time at her brother's wedding! They were married in 2015.

When the Mustafa's applied for a Habitat home in 2020, they had three young sons with another on the way and were living in a small two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with limited area for the children to play.  They were debt-free, but because charging or paying interest is strictly prohibited under their religious beliefs, The Mustafa's never imagined they would be able to save enough to buy a home. The Habitat homeownership program provides a 0% mortgage, making it a viable and affordable option.

The Mustafa's originally moved into a 3-bedroom Habitat home, which was all that Habitat had available. It was a great first step, but they really needed more room.  With a 5-bedroom home under construction, and the Mustafas will transition from their current home to the new one, making the 3-bedroom available for a new Habitat family. Abu was the first person in his family to own a home, and his younger sister, Fatima, will soon be the first to graduate from college. 

 “Community is very important in my culture. Doing our sweat equity made us feel like we are a part of our new community."

- Abu