Venezuelan Crisis

The importance of curiosity in the study period is to go in deep about the history and the issues of today of the countries you are traveling to. To meet the people first hand who are living what you learned every day and experience how your study material becomes a reality. Next story is about a woman escaping the Venezuelan crisis.

Crisis in Venezuela

“Bikini para tu novia”

“Hablan español?”  (Do you speak Spanish?) – A woman in her fifties asked. She was selling her merchandise in the hostel before going to the US. It consisted of bikinis. Why she approached me was nothing short of a surprise. “Para tu novia” – she said. (For your girlfriend)

Well, later but somehow spontaneously we engaged in some chatting that went really fast from mocking of my girlish looks into a report of a cruel reality. Zoraia, Venezuelan, mother of 5 and former educator is fleeing her country crisis and leaving her children behind. It was too much for her and her family. Also, her parents and siblings are already making a living abroad (US, Spain and Portugal). Her children are only waiting to finish their education, but they too will leave, adding up to the already 3 million students and 2 million others that went.

“Socialismo es bueno, pero Venezuela no es socialista, es corrupta”.

Socialism is good, but Venezuela is not Socialist. It’s corrupt.” Students had been recently gunned down in protests against the government. Other protests have occurred in the aftermath and were met with even more violence. After that the protest had thus come to a halt, but peace was only apparent.

For instance, she feels safer in Bogotá, even though several people in our hostel had already been robbed. “Al menos no somos muertos por dicir lo que pensamos.” (At least we are not killed by saying what we think.) After all, she too remembers her youth of violent protest throwing stones and setting cars on fire, but no one got killed, she remarked. In retrospective, she now realises that that kind of protest didn’t establish the foundations for anything good.

Black Market of essential goods

Other protests going on came as a response to the poor access to food and ever-growing foreign debt. Chávez had led the investors away trying to put everything in the hands of the government. The industry collapsed, and skilled workers went abroad. For instance, the country faces a severe structural problem, and the economy is shrinking.

Also, poor people have access to food, but higher waged workers like Zoraia have to pay outstanding amounts of money for it. Then, she goes to the black market for it. Yes, a black market that doesn’t sell guns nor drugs but essential goods. Her contact was a Portuguese guy that delivered her some food at early dawn where not a lot of people could yet be found wandering around.

“Hay que cambiar las politicas.”

It’s necessary to change the politics. Elections were coming up on the 20th of May. Well, that’s good news, no? Unfortunately, no. There is no real adversary to the president. Most of the people won’t even vote except for the poor ones that to continue to have access to food stamps are forced to vote. Given their position they are not willing to bite the hand that feeds. The other group voting is the military. In other words, fearing a coup, the military has been offered houses, cars, good salaries and, of course, access to food.

“I have worked all your life just to escape and leave all behind”

Criminality went through the roof. Big farms are being robbed at gunpoint as food supplies go even lower. Fearing more attacks, the farms have been scaled-down to the point of self-reliance, aggravating the situation.

“Trabajé toda mi vida. Todavía tengo 30 años para vivir…pero no así. No estaré aqui para ver la recuperación de Venezuela”. (I’ve worked all my life and I still have 30 years to live…but not like this. I won’t be here to see Venezuela’s recovery.

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You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore – Christopher Columbus

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BTP period – 3 months

Returning to school with heads and hands full of new knowledge and energy for Bringing it to the Public. Meeting with the team, showing, telling, exchanging experiences and making it common knowledge.

Producing articles, pamphlets, videos, presentations, exhibitions, speeches for debate forums, books and more. Studying further the curriculum in Fighting with The Poor, bringing the truth to the public. 

Going to different schools around Europe to spread the new knowledge in various creative ways – speeches, newspaper articles, lectures at universities and colleges, debates and other public events, exhibitions – leading to a better understanding and inspiring to take an action.

Passing the final exams in Fighting with The Poor. Using the last months together to conclude our future perspectives and possible ways of improving The Poor’s quality in life with humble ways of sharing knowledge.

Volunteer period – 6 months

The Project Work in Africa or India in cooperation with Humana People to People. In this period, you can work at:

  • Teacher training colleges
  • Educating teachers for rural areas
  • Vocational schools for young people
  • Schools for street children.Preschools
  • Sanitation and hygiene in rural areas
  • Tree planting campaigns
  • Raising funds for social projects by forming partnerships and selling second hand clothes and shoes
  • Stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS (following the program TCE/Total Control of the Epidemic)

Arriving at the project in Africa or India, having left behind a courageous journey where fundamental human capabilities have been turned around, refreshed and energised by knowing that things such as travelling can be done in a totally different way than the mainstream tourist travelling.

Ready for doing the work needed at the project, bringing plans and materials from the previous periods. Getting to know the people at the project, the vision and idea of the project and the many concrete tasks to be carried out.

Carrying out the tasks as defined within the necessities of the project and by the Project Leadership. Fighting shoulder to shoulder with The Poor: building preschools, starting Garden Farming, doing literacy campaigns, eradicating malaria, teaching about big issues of our time while working as a teacher at DNS, starting income-generating activities, working as a TCE Special Force in the fight against HIV/AIDS – as a few examples.

Studying and working with your Specialisation in Fighting with The Poor, finalising with a People’s Exam and a written thesis at the end of the period. Acquiring skills in information work: making interviews, taking notes and pictures, writing summaries and reports, recording videos.

Living together with the people at the project, being a good example of living a humble life while improving things with small means to make daily life better.

Travel period – 3 months

Living on the road, being on the move, finding means of transport and places to sleep, talking to people on the road, being curious to understand and know about the countries you are traveling through.

Making investigations, meeting people, visiting their workplaces, staying in their homes, understanding their problems, meeting their culture and values and sharing thoughts with them about the world and the future.

Telling people about your venture to a third world country, trying out bringing it to the public what you have so far experienced and learned. Putting up investigations on a higher level, asking tough questions to self and to the group, getting hold of more answers and putting up new questions.

Taking notes and pictures, writing reports and discussing the seen and the experienced.
Finding good ways of sticking together in the Trios and in the group as such during the travel period.

Study Period – 6 months

At this school, you will find that learning is not first and foremost about listening to the teacher.

The school’s Program consists of a range of intense and spirited activities, theoretical studies and experiences that constitute the sum of learning and life processes carried through by a group of people who for a considerable period of time share a Program with each other that demands cooperation and efforts, and which at the same time is sprinkled with elements that are inspiring and also quite out of the ordinary.

Thus, learning will also take place through communication, deliberations, through working out your plan for learning and sticking to it, and putting to use what you learned, the methods you used, the ideas you got from it and the results you harvested from the training.

You will train yourself in being adventurers and survivors, living and traveling under very humble conditions, not using much money and always finding a way out by ingenuity, being smart and sticking together with your teammates.