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Yo solo quiero tener un trabajo y una oportunidad para mis hijos

“I arrived in Guatemala in the middle of the pandemic. An acquaintance of mine offered to get me a job, so I travelled with my children, and he never showed up. So, I found myself in a foreign country, with no money nor a place to spend the night”. 

By 2018, the situation in Nicaragua was unbearable. I was working in a textile factory when the protests against the government and the repression began. You didn’t know if you would make it back home, they would close the streets, it was like war. That is until one day that I was on my way to work, when they pointed a gun at me and told me that we could not leave anymore. 

The kids were still going to school, and they would take them to the streets —without the parents’ consent— and force them to advocate for the government. I knew I had to leave Nicaragua when my daughter told me:

“Mom, we have to go to the protests again. Last time they took us, the police got into a fight with university students, and we were right there”. 

In that moment, I told them that they would not go back to school, and I left for Costa Rica. I could not take them with me because they did not have a passport, but two months later I came back for them.

In Costa Rica, we sought refuge. I had a job, and as soon as my children arrived, they started studying. Everything was going well, until the pandemic arrived. I lost my job, so I was not able to continue paying the house where we were living. We used to spend the night with some friends or neighbors, and I knew I would have to start all over again. 

A friend of mine that was living in Guatemala told me that there were jobs here and that he could help me. In Nicaragua we are told that the crime in Guatemala makes it impossible to live here, and that was the only thing I knew about the country, but I still decided to come seeking for an opportunity.

It was around 5 PM when I arrived at the gathering point, but he never showed up. I was in the streets, with my luggage and my two children, and I just remember that I hugged them and, while crying, I tried to explain how I did not know where we would spend the night. 

And just like a miracle, a woman heard me and offered me to spend the night in a free room she had. I got a job and was able to rent a place, but then the company closed, and it was hard to get another opportunity.

The first thing they tell me is that I do not have an ID since I am “a foreigner”, and they would not take my passport. The kids missed a year of school because they wanted the Costa Rican certificates Apostilled. Nobody was accepting them, so I had to enroll them in a paid school. 

A few months ago, I made the request for refuge, and I was contacted by both the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) and Human Mobility Pastoral. They got me a psychologist for my children since they kept asking for us to leave for not being able to study. 

They also provided us with beds, a kitchen, and supplies. They were the first to help me. I cannot complain about people, as I have met very good individuals, but Guatemala is very hard. I still do not have an answer from the shelter, they keep postponing it and I have no idea of what is going to happen. 

There are times when I think that my only option is to go back to Nicaragua, but I do not have anything left there. Everything I used to have has been lost. I just want to have a job, not to live a luxurious life. I want my children to study and to do with their lives as they wish. Now that they have been established, we want to stay here.