Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 29, 2013

A Roof Over Their Heads

When it rained in biblical proportions in Katy this past weekend, I never had a worry. The sound of the thunder and the falling rain were of little concern to me as I sat comfortably and read in my favorite chair. Without question, most of us take for granted the roof over our heads. We are indeed fortunate to live in homes that are well-constructed and designed to shelter us from the elements. Not so for many people in our world.

Earlier this month I visited the Zabbaleen in Egypt. The Zabbaleen, also known as Cairo’s garbage people, live in deplorable conditions. Their homes are constructed of the cheapest materials and lack any of the amenities that make a home comfortable and secure. A common problem among the Zabbaleen homes that we visited was the lack of a water-tight roof. Every home that we visited was open to the elements. This presents all sorts of problems and challenges to the Zabbaleen.

In cooperation with our friends at Global Hope Network International, we arranged to help underwrite the cost of materials to put new roofs on sixteen homes in the village of Helwan, located south of Cairo. The people of Helwan, like those of other garbage communities in and around Cairo, depend on the garbage they collect for their livelihood. However, because they are only able to eke out little more than a few dollars a day from their recycling efforts, they do not have the means to improve their homes.

I am happy to report that the funds we provided have already been put to good use. Our partners purchased all of the necessary supplies and the work of placing new roofs on sixteen homes is complete. Everyone in the community helped with the work, even the children. The Zabbaleen could not be happier and are deeply grateful for having a good roof over their heads. Thank you Kingsland for your generosity to our missions ministry. Your gifts make it possible for us to help those in need from our own community to the ends of the earth.

Helwan 1

Loading a truck with roofing lumber for the people of Helwan.

Helwan 2

The roofing lumber arrives at Helwan. Notice tombs in the background.

Helwan 3

Distribution of lumber to the families of Helwan.

Helwan 4

Even the children helped to carry lumber to their homes.

Helwan 5

Each family received all of the supplies they needed to roof their homes.

Helwan 6

A typical roof before repairs.

Helwan 7

Out with the old and in with the new.

Helwan 8

Adding a layer of waterproof fabric.

Helwan 9

The final stage involves adding a layer of adobe atop the waterproof fabric.


  1. That is wonderful Omar. What a blessing to those people! Thanks for GOing BEYOND in obediance!

    • Thank you, Desiree. Without the generosity of the Kingsland family, none of this would be possible. We are indeed blessed to be a blessing!

  2. I’m sad but will keep on my knees! Thanks for making these calls! Desiree

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Thanks. It’s important that we remember the Zabbaleen in our prayers. God is at work in Garbage City. We look forward to greater things among them in the coming year.

  3. Awesome! Thank you Lord for your faithfilled faithful.

  4. Last week I had my eyes opened to needs here that someone else should be taken care of here in Katy! I am for missions all over the world but as I saw a man wearing a garbage bag over his body for clothes here in Katy and every corner there was beggars and the last straw was seeing a couple with a six year old saying we are refugees and homeless and and a young Indian mother pregnant! I have traveled the world and seen lepers and professional beggars in every country! People tell me just call the police and some are dangerous and we need to keep rift raft like that from our city! Where is Jesus in the people of Katy as our homes are nice and comfortable! I think God has been teaching me there are many nearer to you who need help! I believe Jesus looked at all people and who ever he saw he had a word for! A revelation as Alex once said I wonder what their stories are? I have so many who have suffered illness and joblessness and homelessness near and dear to me and I find my resources so limited in helping I thought of a place called the forgiveness house Ihave messed up so many times I life and God still loves me why can’t people learn to forgive the poor and homeless and the children

    • We work closely with the homeless in Katy and Houston. I met yesterday with Officer Giraldo of Houston Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team. We are going to collaborate on doing a once-a-month clinic on our campus for Katy’s homeless folks. I am glad that our missions ministry is deeply engaged with the least of these both in our community and around the world.

  5. Impacting.

  6. I am glad to know this ! I would like to be a part of helping in some way!

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