Locally referred to as a “hogar de paso” (a passing home), Centro de Atencion al Migrante (CAMIG) is a shelter operated by the Archdiocese of Bogotá that has provided care to those forced to flee for 25 years.
And while CAMIG’s open doors have been a welcoming relief for thousands over the years, there is one noticeable difference in in the past few years – those passing through today are Venezuelans, not fellow Colombians who were forced from their home due to militia violence or drug trade as in years past.
We met Maria* in CAMIG’s main waiting area – she had arrived to the shelter that same day with her three-year-old granddaughter Ana – and asked her one question: Why did you leave Venezuela?
“Well, my friend,” she began, “I am Venezuelan and looking for opportunities since in Venezuela we don’t get a chance... we are starving.”
“People are dying due to lack of medicine,” she continued.
“There is no water, no electricity, no food, and if you find food, it is very expensive.”
Like so many before her, Maria arrived to CAMIG seeking care. She received three days of shelter, food, clothing, medical assistance and legal advice. But this is a temporary shelter, a hogar de paso, and she soon had to move on.
“God bless all the people who are helping,” Maria shared before we parted. “We need you. All Venezuelans need your help.”
* Names changed for privacy
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