Gisele speaks openly about the last decade of her life as having been quite an adventure.
She moved to the Moncton area to work after graduating from high school in the late 1980s. She worked full time and had three daughters with her husband.
The couple separated in 2008 and Gisele was left alone with three children aged 7, 4, and 4.
Working full-time, Gisele explains that she was often ill at the time and that doctors had difficulty finding the reason for her weaknesses and chronic illness. Over time, the situation became very difficult to the point where her mobility became reduced. She was forced to quit her job and was hospitalized several times over the next 10 years.
One of the diagnoses was that the connections between her tissues were damaged in addition to having other very severe health problems.
In addition to living these challenges and caring for her three children on a fixed income, Gisele was forced to move three times following the separation as she could not afford to keep their home.
It was while the family was living in a 2-bedroom apartment that she was approved by the Ministry of Social Development for low income housing.
The experience of living in a very dense community was difficult for Gisele and her daughters. The lifestyle was different, there was often violence, the police were often present and so was the stress on all family members. The children were often victims of bullying. Although she appreciated the financial support, Gisele was insecure and uncomfortable. Stress added to her health problems.
Gisele explains that the Habitat program was often in the newspapers or on television. She had decided to apply with the encouragement of her family. She found that the application process was fairly straightforward and the agency staff were very courteous and positive about her application. The day she learned that her application was approved and that there was a house for her is etched in her memory as if it were yesterday. The joy and tears she shed and the calls to her family members and the reactions of the children.
A bungalow style house with 3 bedrooms was waiting for her in the city of Dieppe in a beautiful, quiet and very clean neighbourhood.
Gisele notes that her physical condition at the time allowed her to do some work to supplement her volunteer hours and she was keen to do so.Despite her limitations she managed to do some painting in the house and hours in the ReStore. Her family also helped out. Her father and uncle were involved in construction and her eldest daughter, now a teenager, did some painting. Gisele appreciated that when she worked hours in the store, despite her limitations, she was able to paint in the house and spend hours in the ReStore. Her family also helped out. Her father and uncle were involved in construction and her eldest daughter, now a teenager, did some painting. Gisele appreciated that when she worked hours in the store, the staff were sensitive to her physical limitations and allowed her to work at the cash register.
Gisele and her sons feel at home today. The family is part of the community. The youngest ones are in high school and the oldest in university. They have friends in the neighbourhood and know their neighbours.
Gisele enjoys being part of the Habitat team and is willing to participate in promoting the program by taking part in promotional activities (like this interview) if her health allows it.
Gisele points out that she has her own home because of the flexibility of the mortgage since adjustments depend on her annual income.
Gisele remains a positive person who is happy to have her home, her daughters and the support of her community.