Fleeing Colombia’s Crises to Find a Better Life for Our Children
By Gloria Londono
My family and I are immigrants from Colombia, a country located in South America. Our home was in Antioquia, a region surrounded by mountains where we can enjoy various climates, plant varieties, fruits, vegetables, and animals. Its greatest wealth lies in coffee and flowers, which are exported worldwide. Within this region, we find the beautiful city of Medellín, where my family and I grew up. This city is known as the eternal Spring due to its spring-like weather throughout the year.
We lived happily in Medellin and enjoyed our jobs, but we emigrated to the United States when my son was 4 and my daughter was 6 years old. We made the decision to emigrate because our country was going through an uncontrollable crisis of violence, crimes, deaths, guerrilla warfare, and drug trafficking. At that moment, we thought it was not a healthy place to raise our children; it wasn’t the future we wanted for them.
It was not easy to leave that beautiful city where our memories, families, friends, and neighbors who were like family to us were. I still remember the day of our departure when our neighbors, with tears in their eyes, bid us a final farewell from their balconies, and for some of them, it truly was a final goodbye because they are no longer with us.
We came with broken hearts, sad to leave behind everything so wonderful. But our dream was to find a safe place for our children and that filled us with hope and aspirations. We thought that moment would be temporary, that perhaps one day we would return to our beautiful and beloved country. That’s how we started living day by day. We experienced what it feels like to be a foreigner. But also no longer heard the sounds of gunshots or sirens telling us to stay indoors or the news reporting deaths every day.
Here, we hear the sound of different languages, people who looked down on us for being foreigners, and the laughter of those who mocked our pronunciation and mistakes. We also had to face hard work, long hours and night shifts, and the inclement weather we were not accustomed to.
Despite it all, we never lost hope that the time would come when everything would change, and most importantly, that our children would grow up in a safe place where they would be able to study and prepare for their future.
Today, we can say that those tests and sacrifices were worth it. I am proud of my family. My children went to university and are gradually fulfilling their dreams. They are responsible, hardworking, and honest. For them, this is the place where they want to be for the rest of their lives. They love and appreciate this country for opening its doors to us, and for this reason, they want to continue working to strengthen this country so it can remain the greatest country in the world.