From the warm and endearing oriental side of Venezuela, a group of neighbors from the state of Anzoategui, arrived in Peru. Karen, the author of the idea of migrating in group, comments with laughter, “A few weeks ago, I knocked on their doors and told them that we had to go together to look for a new future, that in another country we could start our new neighborhood”. Two days later, Carmen, Yerida, Irene and her decided to sell everything they had to buy a ticket to Cúcuta. After that, everything was uncertain. They say that the need and the lack of food made them take the decision to leave their homes. “We are all leaving, my children and my neighbors, the rest is no longer important”, says Irene after wiping her tears. “If you knew everything that this group of neighbors has gone through; we have walked under heavy rain, we have felt a cold that we were not used to, we have understood what it means to have a pair of good shoes to be able to make such a long trip; but look at us now, we are healthy in Peru”, she emphasizes.
Despite having left an entire life behind, the neighbors “Brisas de amor”, as they call themselves, say that they never let themselves be won over by bitterness or sadness and that, if they still maintain their strength, it is because they discovered that together they can do more. “Not even the weight of the 12 suitcases we carry will defeat us,” Yerida assures as she shows her bags.
Traveling as a team has allowed them to feel more secure and protected. Today, the neighbors have gone through the vaccination control in the Binational Border Care Center (CEBAF, by its acronym in Spanish), and they comment between laughs, how they encouraged each other not to think about injections. Irene, the eldest of the troop at 42, pauses her laughter and explains how important it is for them to take care of their health. “Even one of the smallest warriors in the group, with only 5 years old, takes care of us and every time he finds a medical post on the way he tells us to go in and it is true, if we do not have health, we will not be able to reach our final destination, the city of Lima”. On one occasion, arriving in Quito, Karen’s oldest son, aged 19, felt stomach cramps and that fragile problem did not allow them to continue moving forward. At that moment they decided to have a pact as a team: if one of them got sick, everyone had to protect that person and thus never leave any member of the neighborhood aside.
The 11-year-old daughter of Yerida dares to talk and says that on the roads, when they have to walk for long hours, many people shout at them from the cars, “Strength Venezuelans, do not get tired!”. And that those words encourage the whole group. At that moment, Carmen takes from her wallet a handwritten paper that reads “You must never give up, together you will get ahead.” She says that this note was given to them by the volunteers of the Red Cross in Bucaramanga and that to this day they still use it for encouragement. “We are in Peru and until now I keep it for special moments like this one”.