Wednesday was moving day for a family of 13 forced out of its home by a fire.
Alphonsine Bitorw and Pastory Muhanyi and their 11 kids have been living with a northern Virginia military family, the Carlins, after a fire destroyed most of their home and belongings nearly a month ago.
Inside the Carlins' Annandale home, a parade of suitcases lined up in front of the basement steps in anticipation of the move. For most of the past month the Muhanyis called the Carlins' house their home.
The Marine family barely knew the Muhanyis through St. Ambrose Catholic School and Church, but when they heard about a fire gutting much of the Muhanyis Fairfax home, Curtis and Mitzi Carlin told their four kids, "Make some room."
“To be honest, I thought it was something my parents would do right off the bat anyway, just because that’s the type of people they are,” said Alicia Carlin, the host couple’s eldest daughter.
But now those warmly welcomed houseguests are checking out.
After getting turned down by more than a dozen homeowners, they finally found a landlord who said yes.
“Once the Muhanyis got the word that the house was approved, I just said, 'OK lets get all the cleaning materials and lets go get the house ready,” said Mitzi Carlin.
Wearing a patriotic tie, Pastory Muhanyi proudly showed News4 around his family’s new house. He said he doesn’t know what he’d do without the generous donations.
“Including people from the whole nation whom we don’t even know, but they came out, they want to help,” he said.
“I think they’re family to me now,” Alicia said.
While the added space will be nice, the Carlin kids admit the separation may be tough.
“I’m going to miss having the little shoes,” Alicia said.
“Oh yeah, there were like 20 pairs of shoes! It was cute!” her brother John said.
Curtis Carlin took part of the day off to see his houseguests off.
“You can’t put a price on what you get out of it,” he said.
The Muhanyis still don’t have furniture but are content with a roof.
But Curtis wants to get their new space furnished and get them a van.