Photo: Juliana Orihuela
“I miss preparing my own food, because in the shelter we can’t cook.” - Francisco
by Lisiane Aguiar
Francisco (29) used to live in Margarita Island (Venezuela) and has been in Brazil for a month, living at the emergency shelter Nova Canaãn, in Boa Vista. He already misses the beach and the moments he could be spending with his family. For Francisco and his wife, living in a shelter is very difficult. Fortunately, they are on a waiting list to be transferred to another Brazilian state, where they could find better living conditions for themselves and their two children. For now, Francisco keeps selling sweets on Boa Vista’s streets. With the money he manages to earn he buys school supplies and snacks for his kids.
Back in Venezuela, Francisco had his own house and a car and could often go to the beach with the kids. At the beginning of the crisis, he started to sell out his belongings in order to buy food, until he decided to migrate to Brazil. At first, he came to Boa Vista alone. He recalls the joy he felt when he found here a lot of food items that he could for a price that he could afford providing for his kids. Then he brought his wife and children.
Francisco shares with us that what he misses the most is preparing his own food. On a daily basis, the lunch they are given in the shelter consists of rice and ground beef. The meal kills the hunger, as he puts it, but he misses a lot the diversity of Venezuelan food and especially the spices he used to cook with back home.
He tells us that many of his friends have left Venezuela in search of jobs and a better living. Despite, sometimes very harsh conditions and difficult circumstances they face abroad, they do not consider going back to their country. This is not only because of the lack of dignified conditions to live in but also because of the fear of being accused of "treason to the motherland". He explains that the Government of Maduro considers it a betrayal of the motherland to denounce or even to complain about the country’s situation.