US$700.00raised of $4,000.00 goal goal
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Hello! Meet my family, the people I hope you find it in your heart to help with donations so that we may flee this impoverished and destitute squalor in Venezuela.
Norman Miguel, a 6 year old wonderful kid, my first born and Little man of the house. He’s got some issues speaking; however I don’t really know what is wrong, because I can’t afford the specialists here. He’s also never gone to school because I couldn’t afford food, by the time his age was right. I remember watching him struggle to just get up after three days of no food, watching how his eyes were all sad and glazed as he laid in bed just watching cartoons, the only comfort I could provide. I remember not telling him it was his birthday because we couldn’t even eat that day, locking myself in the bathroom and crying bitterly until I almost passed out myself.
Israel David, a 4 year old kid filled with energy and eager to learn, yet I had to watch him sleep all day every day for a full year, cause his little body couldn’t handle the days of no food at all. I remember watching his little hands shake as he held a glass of cold water to drink, the dread I felt that my baby might just die on me and there was nothing I could do. I remember him coming to me, asking for food and having to explain there was none, and him just going back to bed and falling asleep under two minutes.
Moisés Emmanuel, a 3 year old baby boy that I breastfed until he was almost three, cause I thought that being so little, even if he only got my milk he was getting SOMETHING. I remember the pain and frustration of feeling him suck so hard, because there was no milk to be had as I hadn’t had a bite in 5 days. Laying in bed with him, feeling like I could die right then and there, and still getting up to the fridge to drink loads of water, try to keep me lactating. He is a small child, he had the same shoe size and clothes for over a year or so. Starvation does that to a little kid in formation. I remember talking with a friend and he was explaining how the brain suffers when toddlers starve like that and how I wanted to sell my soul just to keep my baby from being brain damaged by lack of food.
I love them, I live for them, but they need your help if they are to have a chance at a better life.
Me, hi! I’m mama Alida Prieto.
Last year was critical for me, with days and days nonstop of not a bite to eat, I constantly felt like it would be my last day; and still I was forced, when there was a little money, to walk out and down the hill to buy a little food (leaving my sons alone at home, sadly certain they wouldn’t get in trouble cause they were too weak). Coming back home, feeling like passing out as I went up the hill with the little bags, and then up the stairs so I could cook for my kids and maybe some for me.
This happened so often I began to wonder what would happen to my sons if I did pass out for good alone in the street. I started notifying my landlady I was going out. Hoping someone would be able to watch over my little ones if I didn’t make it home soon enough.
One time I was at the market, trying to buy some veggies for a soup, when I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to stop and sit down on the sidewalk. Many of the vendors were kind hearted, all asked if I’d eaten that day, some offered handouts I gladly took. Pride has no place when your children are starving and I am grateful for that little bit of food, not enough for a meal but at least they could have soup. It was all worth it to see my sons go to bed with a full belly, for the joy on their faces when they were devouring that soup.
We lived in a small apartment of two rooms, no windows to the outside world, no running water, frequent electricity outages. At one point our fan broke down and we were without a fan for almost a month. My sons were covered in rashes and I did the best I could to mitigate, but it was still not enough. The medicines to cure rashes were (and still are) in extreme shortage. (Prescription drugs might as well not exist for practical purposes but that is another story. I pray my babies will never need them.) With no medicines my skinny, languid little boys lay in bed, sweating nonstop, and hungry all the time. I can’t put into words how terrible that felt, how it pierced my heart to be so helpless, I was already doing my best for them and it wasn’t close to enough. We were all just skin and bones, I took them to the doctor and she looked mortified at how underweight they all were. She didn’t tell me off, but I did blame myself every day. I hated myself for not being able to provide in this impossible situation.
Nobody should live like this, we need your help.
Then the miracle happened. Some friends came to visit, saw how I was struggling with my kids and the food and they started chipping in, everybody brought us something to eat. It was little, but it still was something. Trading stories of how hard it was to come by the food, learning new ways to cook, we ended up eating even bull testicles! My sons were so ravenous they’d attack anything that was on their plate. But soon things got difficult again, because my friends started struggling more and more to simply eat themselves, at least once a day.
Someone suggested me a job I could do marvelously because I am bilingual and it was an online job which meant no daycare needed, and it paid in American Dollars! From starting to getting paid took over a month but we are so lucky for the friends we have; my friends online contributed sending some giftcards, seeing that I was barely ever around, being too weak to even sit at the pc. It broke my heart because they were all offering their homes for me and my sons, but I couldn’t even afford our passports, let alone our tickets. They were offering care packages, but we’re not allowed to receive food or medicine from abroad like that. Still, they did what they could until finally I started my job.
On a good day I can make 10$ a day, so we started eating again. Things were looking up and I was filled with hope and food (at long last!) My sons’ faces lit up every time I came home from the store with some groceries. We were eating twice a day and it felt heavenly.
But then everything came crashing down at my feet. Just when we were eating right and I had my sons already registered for school this September. They were starting to grow again, they were happy kids once more. This is when the people in Venezuela started rebelling against the government. Protesting, rioting, triggering violent responses from the government as well. The streets became even more militarized than they normally were, and it all just escalated faster than I could’ve ever predicted. I found myself in dangerous situations, no matter how much I avoided them.
Just last week I went to the drugstore, mortified and in a hurry cause we’d caught a virus and my Israel had been crying all night with an ear ache. I was praying all the way to find the medicines. I was so worried and frightened that it could be an infection that I forgot to take my ID with me.
The drugstore is close to my home, so I kissed my sons goodbye and told them to behave while mommy was gone. Coming back from the store I was stopped by a soldier, he asked for my ID and touched and looked at me in a way that deeply unsettled me. I was worried sick about my sons so I simply explained that I lived nearby and had a medical emergency which led me to run out without my ID. I hadn’t even finished my short apologetic explanation when I was surrounded by at least five more soldiers, all fully armed. I had to fight tears and trembling, I had to push away the panic cloud that wanted to take over my body and mind.
Finally finding the man in charge in the distance, and gathering the courage to tell him they could either take me away right then and there, or escort me to my home where my ID was sitting. He took his time and in my head flashed all the stories about soldiers taking people who never returned, all the tortures and rapes and murders I’d heard about almost daily in the news.
Finally this man told me not to let him catch me without my ID again, he licked his lips, and after one more excruciating pause, gave his men the order to let me go. I came home trembling, wanting to curl up and cry my fear out. Kissing and hugging my boys tight, I was just glad to be safe.
Then another day I was in the store and there was a LONG line cause they were selling rice and deodorant (yes, this is a special day here, I am not kidding). My sons were at home, where I now think they are safer even if alone. Suddenly people start running every which way outside and I panic; I have to get home! I leave the store but it was too late. I had violent angry rioters on one side, with molotovs (homemade bombs), and on the other side was a soldier made barrier.
I decided that this time I wasn’t going to be able to brave this one out. I had to show myself vulnerable and respectful, I had to risk it all. I started walking towards the military. I let my whole body tremble and the tears roll down my face. Kept my hands to my sides where everybody could see them, and approached the soldier that seemed least bothered by me. I look at him and barely able to breathe told him I respected and thanked him for doing his job as a protector, but I really needed to come through as my sons were sick alone at home. I’m a single mom and there’s nobody to watch over them if something were to happen to me. I remember being impressed and relieved to no end when he moved to let me through. I hugged this soldier and cried on his shoulder, I’d broken down. Came home and hugged and kissed my sons extra tight.
If you’re reading this and don’t understand my apprehension in dealing with the authorities face to face, I tell you there are hundreds of documented cases of kidnappings, murders, tortures, rapes, abuse of power in general by military and policemen.
I can’t even go out anywhere with my kids anymore. They remain locked inside cause I can’t risk exposing them to the violent outbursts that occur every day here, I made this decision the last time I went to the bank with my little Moises and ended up having to walk by some protesters. We were blessed that nothing happened that day, but I held him so tight against me, so frightened, hyper alert watching everything around me. By the time we got past the protesters I had to stop and puke.
Good news! We have finally managed to get our passports, thanks to a friend that gave me a giftcard after hearing my story of being surrounded by military. It took 75$ and that is my wage of two weeks, our food of two weeks. I never could have afforded this without their help. I need your help now.
Now it is time to get out.
Now it is time to flee before we catch an infection and die because there are no antibiotics,
Now it is time to flee before I don’t make it back home from the market.
Now it is time to flee before the government leaves us without internet (our biggest ISP is government owned) and I can’t earn my $10/day living anymore.
Now it is time to flee before my computer breaks down and I can’t afford to get another one.
Now it is time to leave this place, live somewhere where my sons can go to school, where Norman Miguel can learn to talk properly, where Israel can drain all that wild energy into productive activities. Where Moisés can grow up to imitate his brothers, like all little brothers do.
Now it is time that I need your help to find a way out of this, find a better life for my babies.
I don’t want luxuries. I’m not even sure what those are…something I read about. I just want food, shelter, safety. I want a better future for my sons, I want a future at all for me. You can help us with that, save us from being trapped here when civil war brings all its’ violence and destruction.
Just a little bit for you is a LOT for us and our goal of fleeing to a safe haven.
Now we need your help, please.
I am eternally grateful for the friends who have been my miracle and literally helped us to stay alive. Please find it in your heart to give us a chance at a better life. We need that miracle of friends who care.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. As a friend of mine said; “The saddest part is that you didn’t have to make any of it up, not even exaggerate a little. I cannot believe your government lets’ its’ own people live this way.” Well, they do and this is how it is. Now when you read those stories about starvation and suffering maybe you will understand a little more what it is really like and that no one should ever live this way. Please help us.
Thank you again.
- Alida Prieto
- Campaign Owner
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