Fleeing Venezuela in troubled times

Miami, Estados Unidos, Venezuela, Caracas
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Ann Fredericks and her nephews and grandson recently returned from Venezuela and are seen enjoying the scenic beauty of the water passing through the Land of Canaan five-door sluice (Delano Williams photo) Family returns to settle in Land of Canaan GUYANA-BORN Ann Fredericks, now in her late 40s, was just about nine when her parents took her across to Venezuela where life seemed promising. She raised a family and together with her husband, brought up three wonderful children. Throughout the years, they never thought of returning to Guyana except for visits. But with the eventual change of fortune in Venezuela — with the people being caught up in a vicious cycle of poverty; skyrocketing prices; violence; no money to buy food; the inability to access money to pay transportation costs and other issues that have hit the economy, Fredericks knew the family had to make a move. “When you work there, you money can’t mind you because the food and things too expensive. Every week you work, the money changing, you don’t know what to expect. What we looking for is a better life and if you work and the money can’t buy your essential needs, then it’s no use staying around. But worst of all is being unable to access medical care, even in times of medical emergencies,” Fredericks told the Pepperpot Magazine.

It was this major concern that drove the family to make virtually an overnight decision to return to Guyana, leaving behind everything that they had acquired over the years. “My eight-year-old son fell ill and was sick with terrible belly pains and high fever for about eight days. I desperately tried to get him treated by a doctor. That had its challenges, but then I realised that being seen by the doctor was not the ‘be all and end all,” she said. She said it turned out that the doctor, though being compassionate, could not immediately say what was wrong with the child. Eventually, they found out that the child’s ailment was a case of appendicitis, but even then, they could not treat him because of a lack of the requisite medication; nor could they perform surgery.

“At that point, death stared my eight-year-old son in the face and based on what was happening, I realised that my son had only about eight days left to live, then he would be gone forever. All this time my son was crying for belly pains and his temperature kept going up,” the distraught mother told the Pepperpot Magazine.

The family hurriedly packed basic essentials and set out for Guyana via the Brazilian border, from whence they would travel to Guyana by the trail. She contacted a brother she has in Guyana and told him that they were coming home to Guyana and two months ago set out on the journey, not realising what was in store for them. “It was me, my daughter and grandson, and while in Brazil trying to get over to Guyana, people robbed us. They take away our clothes, our money, my daughter’s baby things. We were robbed of thousands of dollars which we were hoping would put us on footing, at least initially, when we arrived in Guyana,” the distraught woman recalled.

Fredericks said on arriving in Guyana she informed the police officers who were very sympathetic towards them and other passengers on the bus. “The people were kind and gave us clothes, biscuits and other things to eat, and things for the baby. Without money, it is not a nice thing. Our food, our water and such things those people gone with,” she said.

“But thank GodGod is in front of everything. When we reached my brother in Guyana, he paid the bus and when we checked what we got from kind people on the Brazilian route, we were no longer short of anything, so God is love,” she gratefully acknowledged. They left Venezuela in May 2019 and two months later have been able to settle in Land of Canaan with her brother. The mother and daughter of a four-month-old baby have also found themselves jobs and are now happy about making the decision to travel home to Guyana.

“No matter where I go, Guyana will always be home for me,” Fredericks said, with an air of gratitude and satisfaction.