Marriama Monroe, born here in the Capital, has known Washington D.C. as home for all of her 33 years.
“I did think about leaving once to Atlanta where my uncle is, but not anymore,” Monroe said. “I was born and raised here, all my other family is here, and I like bumping into everyone.”
Family was one of the reasons Marriama always felt that she had a good quality of life, even when she and her two children rented an apartment in public housing. She believes that the word “home” means something you can call your own and while having comfort in your own element, no matter where that place may be. But she dreamed of a complete home, in a safer neighborhood, purchased with her own hard-earned money to improve her family’s quality of life.
Her dream became a reality when she was accepted as a Habitat homeowner in 2007 and bought her own home the very next year. “I feel a sense of pride and like I got something accomplished. I mean, my mom didn’t become a homeowner until she was 44 years old.”
She said her children Micco and Mahogany share her pride by taking their chores more seriously. They appreciate that this is their home and that they always have somewhere to go.
Marriama applied to Habitat two years ago and was accepted on November 6, 2007. From the moment the Family Selection Committee and the board approved the Monroe family, Marriama began building and working towards the completion of her 300 hours of “sweat equity”.
“The toughest part was getting in all of the hours. I tried my best to be out there every Saturday.”
Some of her fondest memories of working on the construction site were meeting volunteers and acquiring close friends through the process. Marriama works as a medical assistant and had the wonderful opportunity of taking care of five people who had helped her with her “sweat equity” hours. “When they came into the doctor’s office, I got to care for them with all of their bruises and banged up parts.”
Her home dedication took place in June of 2008. Pure happiness overcame Marriama as she heard the Pastor of Evergreen Church bless her home, as well as her next door neighbor Miss Maureen’s home.
“I was just so excited that I couldn’t even get the words out right during my dedication.” The sweetest token of her home dedication experience, Marriama said, was when she had the chance to give Van Anderson, the site supervisor at the time, personal recognition because he was the one that pushed her to accomplish her goal.
Now, a few years after making all her interior decorating ideas a reality, 328 55th Street is a warm, inviting home. Cookouts and daily chats with neighbors are shared, and goals for the future are being made.
My short-term goal is to go back to school and complete a 2- month course. I’m also thinking about expanding. The way I see it, this is just a starter house for me and I’d like to purchase another. This is only the beginning.