Carmen, 48 years old, is no stranger to the difficulties life has to offer, seeing as she grew up in the streets. She had been selling fruits most of her life when more than a decade ago, she also decided to open up a hostel to add to her income. The hostel has been a great stop for tourists to take a rest, but, in 2018, her customers have changed, from tourists to fleeing Venezuelans. Carmen opened her hostel for them, and let them stay there for a period of time – for free.
According to UNCHR, at least 3 out of 10 people from Venezuela travel to Ecuador on foot. That is why, by the time they arrive there, these Venezuelans are literally exhausted, some are even sick, not to mention the robbery, trafficking networks, and violence they may have experienced along the way.
That is why Carmen’s hostel has become a safe haven for these people who try to escape the harsh lives they have in Venezuela. In her place, they can sleep, have a good meal, take a shower, and clean their stuff in preparation for the next part of their journey. Some people only stay for a couple of days, while some, especially those who are in a delicate situation like pregnancy, opt to stay for a longer period of time.
Although she is happy to be of help to the people, Carmen still hopes that the day will come for Venezuelans when there will be no need for them to flee from their own country. She also said that she had learned a lot from this experience and that she’s hoping that this would also teach the children to become more generous and to be better as a person.
Carmen’s act of hospitality and humility is surely breaking xenophobia in that part of the world.