“The lady was crying inconsolably while she was returning the phone”, says a volunteer from the Peruvian Red Cross who is in the Restoring Family Links (RFL) post located in the Binational Border Care Center (CEBAF in Spanish) in Tumbes, northern border of Peru with Ecuador.
“It has been one of the worst days for me,” says the volunteer, “the lady was crying without stopping and at first we did not understand anything. We could not comfort her. We gave her water and we offered a cookie from the ones we had brought as snack for ourselves. In the end she calmed down and told us what happened. On the way from Venezuela to Tumbes she was assaulted, she lost everything. Fortunately, she already had bought the ticket to come here and they did not take it away. Some people on the bus gave her the clothes she was wearing, and she had only $5 in her wallet”.
“When she saw that our calls to Peru were free she felt relieve because she could contact the person who was waiting for her in Peru and he would help her with what was necessary to get to Lima. She made the call, but when she was finally able to communicate with the person, the answer was negative. The person told her that he could not help her and did not even gave her an address in Lima where she could arrive. Very painful, I completely understood her despair, I wish I could do more”, says the volunteer of the Peruvian Red Cross Tumbes branch, who has been working shifts on this RFL module since the volume of migrants passing through this border started to increase.
The Peruvian Red Cross, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been working for months in the CEBAF, supporting the people on the move, providing safe water, primary health care and RFL. According to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) from January to May 2018, more than 185,637 migrants have passed by the CEBAF in Tumbes.
“Here you can listen the most amazing stories, all of them very sad. Many people have left everything, including their children back in their country. It must be very difficult to leave you children, I think I could not do it, but of course you do not know what the situation of despair was”, she says. “I like RFL, I feel that through the call we are giving them a bit of light, a hope”, she says smiling as she gives information to another person who wants to make a call.