It was on the third day of eating only mangoes that Poellis Córdoba and her husband realized that it was time to flee Venezuela. "My husband made a good living as a bricklayer and we lived relatively comfortably,” says Córdoba. “But little by little the situation worsened to the point that we only had enough money to buy sardines and cornmeal. I remember that in the end we only had enough to feed our children. Then we couldn’t even get that, and it was then that my husband arrived with a suitcase full of mangoes. When they were finished, we finally understood that we could not take it anymore.”
First, her husband traveled to meet his brothers who had migrated a few months earlier to Tibú, a Colombian border town in the Norte de Santander region. Seven months later Córdoba arrived with her five-year-old son. It took another year for them to bring their two older children, aged seven and nine. Today, the whole family lives in the informal settlement of Divino Niño, a collection of houses with wooden floors, polyethylene walls, and zinc roofs, where many Venezuelan migrants who cannot afford to pay rent end up.
"Life here has not been easy," says Córdoba. "Sometimes it is really hard for us, but at least food is not lacking for the children.”