Photo: Fabricio Carrijo
“Music is a discipline, a wonderful art.” - Jusmery
by Ana Clara Bernardes
Jusmery Vallenilla, 44, is from Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and used to work at a public school as a music teacher. She talked to us with nostalgia about her profession, as she considers teaching a gift that forms a part of her essence and which gives meaning to her life. She tells that the love for teaching has been present in her heart since she was a young girl. During our conversation at the refugee shelter Rondon 1, where she lives, Jusmery emphasizes the importance of education as she believes that knowledge is the only element that a person can always carry around, regardless of the circumstances. As a teacher, Jusmery would love to be able to teach music in the shelters in the Boa Vista, as she senses the need for more entertainment activities in these spaces, especially for children. Despite the desire, the reality is very different, as she mentions she was told there were no funds to buy the necessary material and musical instruments for the classes.
Jusmery has been in Brazil for nine months, in the company of her two children and grandchildren. She states that her knowledge of Brazil was very superficial at the beginning and that she knew very little about its culture, traditions and habits. This was because Jusmery had never, in her life, imagined having to leave her homeland. All her life plans always involved a fixed residency in Venezuela. Unfortunately, the crisis changed it all. Thus, her family's life quality drastically declined drastically and it became impossible to maintain a decent standard of living. For Jusmery, every human being should have the access to food, education and health. When these elements were no longer available in the Venezuelan reality, she decided to cross the border in search of a better life in Brazil. For her, being a Venezuelan means to be a warrior, because it is not easy to overcome the cultural and language barriers forced on many of her nationals by the crisis.
Despite greatly missing her friends and family who remained in Venezuela, Jusmery sadly comments that she has no desire to return. On the contrary, she wants to take part in the interiorization programme and has faith that she will find a job as a teacher in another Brazilian state. Getting a steady job would allow her to ensure the future for her children and grandchildren. She desires to rebuild a new life in Brazil that would somehow replace the good times lived by her family in Puerto Ordaz.