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Yliamne: the hope of Venezuelan mums for a family Christmas

“I have seen each of my children leaving me in every couple of years and I have realised, over time, that for me their journey in search of prosperity is a kind of transition. A process of transmuting hopelessness into faith and hope. I have lost the fear of distance. I belong to the population of Venezuelan women who are vulnerable, not because of their health but because of the lack of human warmth their children give them. And I know that if I become depressed, I will die of sadness,” comments Yliamne.

Her testimony was sent to me via a Whatsapp message. It was the way we found to communicate with an ocean, a 15-hour time zone, and a limited internet connection separating us. And even though I couldn’t look her in the eye or hear her tone of voice to tell this story, the text came to me with a layer of feelings that transcended the screen.

Maybe making feelings cross borders is a talent of someone who has learnt how to be close from afar a long time ago, or maybe it’s some mother’s magic that can transmit love via electromagnetic waves from wherever she is. Either way, these words written from a distance had as much impact as if they had been said over a coffee in a face-to-face conversation. And that already tells a lot about the resilience of Venezuelan mothers.

Since 2014, Yliamne has lost the privilege of spending Christmas with her three children. Today they all live in different countries, seeking better living conditions than those they find in the South American country drowned by a political and economic crisis that they come from.

Yliamne with the three sons in 2010 (Photo: personal archive)

Even so, she tries to stay positive and tells me how she has been celebrating the festivities in recent years. “Sometimes this feeling of nostalgia increases in these moments of celebration when I see families who are all together, but I try to see everything without any sadness. Most of the time we also get together with parents who are like us, without their children, and we keep each other company. We cry and laugh,” she says.

And she reflects on the lessons that the crisis situation has brought her. “I realise how little I need in material terms. I don’t need a bigger house or another car. What is really important to me are the people I want to be with. My family and my children are the priority, yet in these moments of longing I try to be happy,” she says. 

“I hope that with this migration of children we have learned to value all the good things that we didn’t take into consideration before,” she adds.

Yliamne with her children and husband in 2008 (Photo: personal archive)

Finally, Yliamne concludes with the hope that soon the family will be together to celebrate life. “I have to live the present with optimism, whether we commemorate these dates together or not. Without fear. Because it is this feeling of happiness and optimist that allows me to imagine that in a very near future we will all be together. Until then, I try to keep positive on this path to future happiness”.

#Christmas #immigration #latinamerica #venezuela

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