Meet Home Builder Ligia Reyes

In the ongoing Shondaland series Head Turners, we fulfill appealing ladies from each and every side of everyday living who are crushing it in their professions. From artists and tech experts to titans of the boardroom, these girls are breaking limitations, and they’ll share how you can too.

They normally arrived in the center of the night. When the air was sticky and filled with swarming “kissing bugs” browsing for flesh and blood, that’s when the whispers of “the Sandinistas are coming” flickered during Nicaraguan villages. The Sandinista National Liberation Entrance (FSLN) hunted down its have persons, searching for dissenters who may possibly stand up to their routine.

By the time Ligia Reyes was 18, she experienced enough of killing. Year soon after calendar year, Reyes heard of dissenters in neighboring towns and metropolitan areas becoming dragged out of their houses and shot in the center of the road. A single working day, the whispers discovered their way to Reyes’ hometown of Villa de San Antonio de Pavia de Estelí. Her family members escaped to a ranch owned by her father, a political activist who frequently spoke out from the Sandinista-controlled govt. Dissent was not an choice, so they marked him for loss of life.

“The Sandinistas getting control of people’s qualities was the determination to depart the place,” Reyes recalls. “That’s the aim of Communism. After that, people today didn’t have nearly anything. The federal government commenced rationing foodstuff each 7 days. Communism had officially entered the place. It was time to leave.”

When her loved ones returned to their residence, bullet casings and missile shells littered the empty neighborhood. Reyes’ relatives joined those who survived, sweeping the ammo into huge piles, grotesque reminders of the neighbors who never returned. Reyes realized that to have any semblance of a normal lifestyle, she had to get the hell out of Nicaragua.

The entire family decided to look for refuge in another nation. Choices ended up restricted. She realized quite tiny about the United States apart from what she saw on television. She viewed President Ronald Reagan provide Nicaraguan citizens political asylum if they could make it to The us. A lot easier claimed than completed.

Ligia Reyes is CEO of LGE Investment decision Residences.

Courtesy Ligia Reyes

Venturing from her dwelling state to the U.S. border was filled with unimaginable terrors. For four trauma-loaded a long time in the 1980s, Reyes and her household traveled with no money, connections, or options across Central The us. Though a lot of of her household eventually stayed in Mexico, the fire of flexibility in the U.S. burned as well robust in Reyes’ stomach to give up. At some point, she and her brother swam across the Rio Grande and achieved the border.

Six a long time in the past, Reyes and her partner established a dwelling development enterprise in South Dallas. Currently, they get the job done 7 times a week as contractors setting up, arranging, and developing dozens of residences across North Texas. The couple deliberately get the job done in Black and Latinx communities in hopes of giving men and women of color a prospect at proudly owning their first residence.

Reyes, now a U.S. citizen, is familiar with what it is like to want one thing so undesirable, you are ready to possibility it all. She just lately spoke with Shondaland about how her journey carries on to inspire her and what guidance she has when self-question sets in.

LEE ESCOBEDO: You went on a harmful, daily life-altering journey to attain the U.S. Now that you have a short while ago become a grandmother even though solidifying a home building empire, how do you mirror on your journey?

LIGIA REYES: I’m residing the American aspiration. I get the job done in construction and build residences together with my husband. We independently construct residences with great reputations. We commenced little, and now we own an established business enterprise.

LE: Why did you choose to begin a design organization?

LR: For me, design is additional than a position. It is my dream. When I entered this enterprise, I observed there was nothing at all I desired to do more in life. I usually knew I would operate in building.

For decades, I gathered papers from corporations I thought I could use in the long run. I had a organization card on my fridge for virtually 6 a long time. When we started off building residences, we necessary a bank loan organization. My spouse explained we desired to locate someone, and I informed him I experienced a card with the title of a personal loan organization on my fridge. Now, that organization provides the financial loans for our properties. I didn’t know why I kept it.

ligia reyes standing on a construction site
Ligia Reyes builds properties in in Black and Latinx communities in the course of North Texas.

Courtesy Ligia Reyes

LE: What obstructions did you have to overcome as a Spanish-talking immigrant in the male-dominated residence development marketplace?

LR: I necessary to show that I could do this get the job done and demonstrate it to other persons in the area, generally adult males. Also, [I needed] to make people today see that even although we are Latino, the properties we’re constructing are large top quality. We provide our residences with that intention.

Lots of folks see we’re Latinos and think the solutions we offer you are not the same good quality as some others. We have to get people’s confidence that we use good products and know what we’re undertaking. We get doubted a great deal. But we’ve prevail over all of these perceptions in this market. When we to start with began, individuals saw us as small-time contractors. But now, we’re no lengthier seen that way.

LE: What is rewarding about home construction?

LR: We have presented people today of all different nationalities the opportunity to have their first house. That provides us a great deal of pleasure for the reason that we know we’re creating family members delighted, offering them a new household, and supporting them reach their desires. It encourages us to get up just about every day and keep on producing new houses.

LE: What information would you have for other Latinas who want to break into industries wherever gals and Latinas are underrepresented?

LR: My tips is to have a desire but also the toughness and travel to get to it. Accomplishing your goals has no limitations just since you’re a female. You can do anything a guy does. Do not have anxiety. Fear has by no means helped a human being reach their goals. Permit perseverance be your toughness. I have often imagined that becoming a lady doesn’t mean I just can’t do anything. The text “I can’t” do not exist in my dictionary.

Lee Escobedo is a Texas-centered author who has contributed to The Guardian, The A.V. Club, Surface, Re-Version, Spike, Momentary Art Evaluation, Terremoto, and Berlin Artwork Connection.

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