Franklin is a 31 year old Venezuelan who left his country in search of a better future for his family. He spent 7 days travelling from Guayana, crossing the border to Brazil to reach Cochabamba, Bolivia.
He is a hairstylist and obtained work as a beautician. Each month he would send money for his wife and children. After acquiring temporary residence, he decided to bring his family to live here, but they were not allowed to leave because they lacked the necessary documents. A month ago, he returned to Venezuela to go through the process of obtaining the documents and other permissions for his children. This was time consuming and expensive. Finally, they obtained the documents, and since October 9, they have been with us. His wife, Nayibis Rodríguez, is 30 years old. Their daughter Franyibis is 10, and their son Franklin de Jesús is 8. They are Pentecostals.
Together with them came Franklin’s brother and his wife’s sister to whom the community could not provide lodging, but whom we have given some work to do in the school, and this way they can manage.
Ismenia of the community of Cochabamba shares her impressions with us: They are brave people who have risked their lives to find a better life, and with the hope of gradually bringing their families. We understand that all of this exile began because of worry and desperation due to the lack of food, of work, of heath. It is a barrier to the future, to progress in life. It is a system of death, which the Venezuelan people are enduring. They feel very grateful to this land which has accepted them, to the people whom they have met along the way and who gave them an incentive to continue on. On the journey, they saw their Venezuelan people sleeping in the streets, and this breaks their heart, because by the grace of God they have a roof, a bed, clothing and food for themselves and especially for their children. Faced with these situations their hearts are touched, and they say that this should not be happening and that they should not have to leave their land.
In their faces there is suffering, there is silence, but also there are smiles, a gentle and respectful attitude. Our desire is for us to journey together with the dignity of children of God. May they rise and walk toward building the new kingdom and new earth which the Lord promises us, and that we begin to put into practice now by dreaming and opting always to defend life, to share what we are and have. Race and religion do not matter; what is important is to love and serve the Lord in our brothers and sisters who are most in need.