For our Venezuelan friends in Peru, empty store shelves aren’t a new reality. In fact, Venezuelans have been facing severe price inflation and food shortages for years. But because of their experience, they offer messages of encouragement and hope for hard times. Here is what Alejandro, a Venezuelan refugee in Peru, said when asked about his experience:
“Every day was very uncertain, we did not know what would happen or how to stock up on food and supplies. In Venezuela it was different than other places, the average salary of an employee was only enough to buy a few things. So people had to be creative to make ends meet. Everybody, young and old, worked side jobs instead of sleeping and enjoying weekends. In moments of crisis there was a lot of sadness over not being able to provide and eat.
Breakfast started disappearing little by little, and I realized we had been eliminating some food to be able to have lunch and dinner. I would stop eating so that I could give it to my mom, then she would do it on other meals, so we both shared what little food there was.
But in those moments we had to have hope that things would improve. We never lost faith, we became more tightly knit. It was in these times that we learned to work together more and support each other as family, friends, and a community. That was when gatherings of friends became celebrations, and that turned into gathering to support each other searching for food – waiting together in long lines at supermarkets for supplies. That was when we were able to be more humble with each other.
The advice I would give would be to never lose hope. We don’t have to know how it works but we can trust that God is in control at all times.”