"It was not easy to take the decision to leave.It was not easy to walk to Medellin either. I started to walk on the 7th of June of 2018 from my hometown Guacara, a small city near Valencia in Venezuela.
I will never forget the scorching asphalt burning its way through my shoes soles, nor will I forget the truck driver who eventually picked me up from the highway and drove me to San Carlos, where I spent my first night away from home. I left San Carlos on the 8th of June at 5 am, as I walked by the side of the highway I encountered many people, some of whom I already knew. We started walking together, forming a group, we felt that at least together we could hold strength and faith.
Most days we walked an average of 16 hours a day, from 5 am to 11 pm, only stopping occasionally to rest from the merciless heat of the central plains. Nights were short and went fast, as we took turns to sleep and watch. After a while I lost track of time, I did not know what day it was, it seem as if all that existed was this highway.
On this journey many people approached us, some gave us water or blessings, others just encouraged us to keep on. But, many drove by and laughed, shouting that we would never make it, that we would probably die. There were moments of weakness in which I thought of going back, I was constantly filled with anger and pain. Why was I the one who had to leave, because a few people in power had stolen everything from us; I was so resentful that I had been pushed to leave my life behind.
It took over two weeks to walk to the border city of San Antonio, we got there at around 4 pm. When we arrived we headed to the town square, where many more travelers were gathered. We embraced each other in joy, on single group hug, we had made it this far because we were together and held faith in eachother, we shared a unique bond made of hope. I kneeled down and kissed the pavement, as if to make sure I was really there; one of our companions fainted but we held her in our arms and hug her, until she recovered. We slept in the square that night, taking turns to watch over each other, very much aware that we were only half way there, we still had to cross over.
We crossed the border through the bridge, as we had border IDs, a special ID residents at the border use to travel back and forward. At the bridge we were stopped by a Colombian officer who asked us where were we going. We told her we were there to do some shopping, but before we wanted a take to shower and clean up. Perhaps, she did not really believed us, but she was kind, and led us to a house nearby where we were able to bathe for the first time in many days.
The owner of the house was Mrs R, a plump and merry woman on her 60s who seemed to fill everything with joy, she just had this way of making us feel home. Her house was modest, but its warmth was immense.
She invited us to stay, so we could rest from our journey, she could see that we were worn out and knew what was ahead of us. I phantomly moved around the living room, looking for a place to sit, there were 10 of us of there, 2 of whom were children. An hour later, Mrs R. She served them of course the Colombian way, with beans, rice and a cup of coffee. She served each one of us with the same care I had once served my own children, I broke into tears but Mrs R assured me that after I rested I would regain my strength, that the next day would be a new day.
The following morning we left for Pamplona, a small city enclaved at 8,500 ft in the Colombian Andes. We knew this will be the hardest part of the walk, that it would be cold and we were hardly prepared for this merciless weather. As we walked we cried, laughed and contemplated the breathtaking landscape. Sometimes stopping to drink tinto (coffee) with people who wanted to help us, sometimes to share a loaf of bread or a smile with a shepherd.
We kept walking because we had to keep walking, so we could help the people we had left behind, so we could hope for a future. Among us there was no social condition or selfishness, we were all for one as we walked. When finally made it to Pamplona we could not believe it, we jumped with joy despite that our legs were barely responding. Near town a truck stopped and gave us lift to a farm nearby, where a man called Yoander allowed us to stay and take a shower.
That night we were cold, so cold that I thought we were going to die, that my body would not resist this, so we held hands and pray. A group member, called Casadiego, smiled at each one of us, and said that we needed to remember that we would not be on this journey if we were not fit to finish it, we would make it, and if one of us felt there would be nine of us to lift them.
We were so exhausted as we started to walk towards Berlin, a dense mist covered everything, so thick that we could barely see each other. We started singing to keep our spirits up, we hugged and jugged to keep warm, we were lucky to have been pick up by a truck halfway to Berlin. We all made it to our destinations after Berlin, I arrived in Medellin where I have been living since but I want to move to Buenos Aires, and I think I will walk there. "