““I am in Brazil so that my children can have a future" - Caterine
by Juliana Mangabeira
Caterine (25) used to live in Barcelona, Venezuela, with her husband and two sons. Before the crisis has spread around Venezuela, Caterine's life was very different than it is now. She considers that her family had a good quality of life, but the worsening economic situation of the country painfully affected it.
Before the crisis, Caterine owned a beauty salon and worked as a beautician. This job was giving her a lot of pleasure and was adding meaning to her life. With this work, she managed to save enough money to pay for the trip to Pacaraima, a Brazilian city at the border with Venezuela. But there the money ended and the family was not able to continue their journey to Boa Vista. Luckily, they were offered a ride by a compassionate Brazilian who was going in that direction. When they arrived in Boa Vista they were directly allocated to the refugee shelter Rondon 1, where they have been living for seven months now.
Forced migration has changed Caterine's life completely. She used to have a comfortable life and suddenly was compelled to leave behind and move to an unfamiliar country. Caterine says she had never wanted to leave Venezuela, but the situation has forced her to look for better opportunities, especially for her children. This decision, as she puts it, was one of the most difficult choices she had to make in her life, and it still hurts her to talk about her country. Caterine mentions to have thought of returning to Venezuela on various occasions and that she hasn't done it because she doesn't want her children to go through the difficult situations taking place there.
Photo: Katarzyna Górka
For now, her biggest dream is to continue to be a beautician and to open her own beauty salon in Brazil to maintain the professional activity she enjoys so much and to give a bit more purpose to her current life. She hopes that Venezuela will soon recover from the crisis as she longs to return to her home country, where she grew up, has built a life and where she wants her children to grow up too. Then, one day, she expects, Brazil will remain in her memory as a beautiful country.