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Photo: Katarzyna Górka

“Venezuela is a beautiful country full of diversity, with strong women who are very helpful and support each other." - Marielse

by Ana Célia Machado

Marielse (25) is Venezuelan and has her two years old daughter, Enmariel, as her journey companion. The two lived in the city of Maturín where Marielse worked as a secretary at a school. The decision to migrate to Brazil came with the hope of being able to build a new life for herself and her daughter, and to reunite with the family that had already been living here for six months. The decision to move to Brazil did not come easily though. For a long time Marielse was trying to cope with the worsening economic situation in her country, hoping that the crisis would soon be over. However, it was only getting worse. Marielse’s mother, already living abroad, was sending her some money to help with the daily expense. But even by adding this to her own salary, it was not enough to buy basic products such as rice, beans, noodles and other everyday things. Supermarkets often had empty shelves, and when some product appeared, the lines became miles long, making the situation even more difficult. 

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Photo: Katarzyna Górka

During our conversation in the shelter Nova Canaãn, where she lives, she remembers the time before the crisis when she was able to go out with her family, go to the mall, stroll through the square and even "afford an ice cream" once in a while, as she says. One of the things she misses the most about her country is the food.  Even though she has tasted some Brazilian foods such as coxinha or tapioca, she still does not see herself without preparing arepas, cachapas and other typical Venezuelan dishes. 

 Marielse She has been in Brazil for only three weeks and tells us that her experience, so far, has been  positive and that she has not suffered any kind of discrimination. But she knows people who did. She hopes that her family and herself would be soon transferred to another Brazilian State so they could start building a new life there.