Carrying memories, building new lives

By Sergio Ortiz Borbolla, Amnesty International

Lilian.

My name is Lilian Esther. I am 36 years old. I live in Mexico with my husband and two daughters.

 

 

We come from Valledupar, Colombia.  We now live in Texcoco, and we’re excitedly awaiting a decision on our asylum application in this country.

Before arriving in Mexico, we lived in Venezuela and in Colombia. We were really happy for a while, but the murder of my husband’s brother in Colombia and the terrible humanitarian crisis in Venezuela forced us to flee both countries.

 

 

Our things were stolen on the journey to get here. The only thing I was able to keep was a strip of cloth with Colombia’s flag printed on it. This strip of cloth is the only thing left from our previous life and I cherish it a lot; I hope that we can one day have more things from our country.

When we arrived in Mexico, we were welcomed with love and compassion by many people. Some new friends gave me a pot and other objects, which are now my most prized possessions. These signify a new life.

 

 

Dalyn.

My name is Dalyn. I am 13 years old. I live in Mexico with my parents and sister.

After travelling so much and being so far from home, my dream is to study agriculture here in Mexico and return to Colombia to tend to our plot of land with my grandfather. I miss him a lot.

 

 

The violin that my mother gave me is my treasure and the only thing I have left from when we lived in Venezuela. I have taken really good care of it, and even though it no longer has all of its strings, I know we’ll find some here in Mexico.

 

 

I will make lots of new music with this violin.

 

 

“El Gato”

They call me “El Gato” (“The Cat”) and I come from El Salvador. I now live in Mexico City.

Before coming here, I spent a lot of time in the United States. I found a new life there and realized just how much violence I was surrounded by in El Salvador.

 

 

Unfortunately, I was convicted of a crime I did not commit and was sent back to El Salvador. Upon my return, I was a victim of violence and threats made by gang members and I could not continue living there; that place was longer my home.

This photograph is very important to me. I grew up on that hill, running around and playing with my cousins and friends, before everything changed; before the danger and the gangs.

 

 

Whenever I feel sad, I look at this photograph and think back to what it was like to run as a child; to play all day on the hill, and to come home to eat with my mother. I take it everywhere. It reminds me of where I come from.

I now feel at ease in Mexico. I found work and support from many people and organizations that see me as a person; they see me for who I am and not only as an immigrant.

Mauricio.

My name is Mauricio, I am from Venezuela. I am 36 years old and I live in Mexico City.

I left Venezuela in 2014, headed for Colombia, as a result of the humanitarian crisis the country is experiencing. I have a chronic illness and require constant medical care.

In Colombia, I faced obstacles to receiving medical care due to my immigration status so I had to once again leave. With my deteriorating health, I set out on the journey to Mexico in 2018.

This Bible is really important to me. It has accompanied me at all times and through all problems. My father lovingly gave it to me before I left Venezuela. I still read his inscription every night.

I currently live in a migrant shelter. They give me food, a place to stay, and legal and psychological assistance.

I want to study tourism and hotel management so I can work a lot and bring my family here.

I believe that everyone is a human being and deserves a chance in life.

There are thousands of others just like these people who leave their countries in the Americas each year and come to Mexico seeking refuge; however, not everyone has the good fortune of finding it.

Sign this petition to ask the Mexican government not to turn away people seeking refuge from dangerous situations in their countries.

This article was originally published in spanish by Sopitas.