fornt

Ismael

El Salvador
59
I like to live here because more than anything there is freedom. Freedom to work, to do whatever you want.

I believe I can’t ask for anything more from the life I had in my country because I had everything. There I had good opportunities as a small business owner.  In El Salvador I was always dedicated to my work, I had two taxis, four corn mills and I was able to earn some money and support my family. I also enjoyed working with electric welding and doing manual labor. I had grown up watching my father doing it. I learned everything from him, and that is why I liked it so much.

 

I like the way people are here. The Catalans gave me their hands.
sCopia de IMG_9145
sCopia de IMG_9154

Unfortunately, in my country there are gangs. When they saw I was making some money and acquiring properties they made me pay a “fine” of 200 dollars per month. At the beginning, I could pay, so I was still working and I did not care about it. However, one day they came and shot my house, making a lot of holes. The bullets passed the mill. This happened in the middle of the night so the only thing we did was lie on the ground to protect ourselves. The next day during the morning they called from the prison and asked for 20,000 dollars that had to be delivered in 72 hours. I said that I did not have the money and they said “it’s not my problem, I am gonna quartered your son and gonna send him to you in bags”. So we went to the bank and withdrew all the money we had jointly, then we gave it to them but I asked for a deal.  They gave me their word they would not bother my family again. 6 months later, the threats started again and this time they kidnapped my son. I asked them one week to have the money they wanted. I had to sell everything, taxis, properties and then we escaped, all my family. It’s been a drastic change in my life, but it has been worth it.

We decided to come to Spain because of the language. We came in an irregular situation, without the necessary documents. Barcelona was my first option because I had a friend here. For two weeks we stayed with them. After that, a church provided us with accommodation. Then, we contacted the Immigration Authorities to talk about our situation. I had the assistance of ACCEM for 18 months and I needed to wait if I could have the status of refugee or asylee. There are no words to thank them for what they do with me and my family, I know it is their work but they did more than that. I would never forget that NGO because they were very kind when I needed it the most.

 

sCopia de IMG_9152

I like to live here because more than anything there is freedom. Freedom to work, to do whatever you want. Barcelona is like a country despite being a city but I see it as a country that fights for their independence. I like the way people are here. The Catalans gave me their hand. I have 4 mentors assigned to me by one NGO. So you can see, these wonderful people came to help me and my family. They have my heart. God put them on my path. They support me, I feel very happy to have people like this by my side. If I need a sheet because it is cold, they will bring me, even food. I didn’t even have a tv in my house and they got me one. Whatever is missing. Not only material support but psychological too. They always call me to know how my family is and how I am. I wonder if all Catalans are like this, but I believe most of them have a heart like this.

There have been some challenges since I came here. When I arrived here, I received a white sheet, with a provisional NIE number so I could not work with that. Later, a red card with the one I could also not work with. Finally, with the second red card yes I could work with. I worked in a restaurant for 6 months and also in laundry in Gavá and after that my asylum was denied. Until now, I have not had a work contract. I hope to regularise my situation. Also, I have experienced racism here. My wife got sick, she has asthma. So we went to the hospital and a racist doctor attended her. Because I was not in my country, I could not say much so I was just observing him. That made me feel really bad because my wife was not treated as she supposed to be in a situation like that.

Nowadays I work in the maintenance of a big chalet for a Sir called Miguel. I take care of the garden, of the pool, small reforms, plumbing, carpentry… Whatever he needs, I will try to do. He tells me that he likes me because I am the only one but I do several jobs.  For the future, I hope to sell a house I have in my country and invest here in the removal services business. When I have the documents I can do that, right now it is not possible because I have no documents. I also would like to provide my wife with a nebulizer, she has asthma and she needs it.

Apart from that, I dream of getting old with my family, my two kids, but I know it’s impossible. My daughter is gonna have her own family, they won’t be there all the time. So all I can wish is just to get old with my wife and have financial stability, something that we could support ourselves. I also want to not lose myself and always have my values alive.

Share This Story:

amanda
Photographer
Amanda Vieira
amanda
Author
Amanda Vieira