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Venezuelan household residing ‘American Dream’ after epic journey throughout 11 international locations and infamous jungle | World Information

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My cellphone pings late at evening. It is a message from Gustavo Aleman, our producer in Venezuela.    

“Look who made it to America!” the message says, alongside an image of a household standing in entrance of a ‘Welcome to the US of America’ signal.

It’s the Zambrano household from Venezuela.

Our workforce first met them in the Darien Gap in November 2022, whereas we had been filming a narrative concerning the infamous jungle trek from Colombia to Panama.

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Crossing the Darien Hole looking for a brand new life

We filmed as they criss-crossed rivers, waded by deep swimming pools of water and hiked up steep hills made solely of thick mud and rock.

Michael Zambrano was carrying his then two-year-old son Lucien in a child provider on his chest, whereas his four-year-old son Jordan clung to his hand.

His spouse Mariangela was seven months pregnant.

That they had left Venezuela, travelled to Chile – tried to make a life there however could not – so made their manner by Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador after which to Colombia, the place they joined the path – hoping to in the end attain the US.

It took them 5 days to get by the jungle and into Panama.

The Darien Gap
Darien Gap

As soon as they reached Panama they took a breather for a couple of days, earlier than persevering with north by Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, after which Mexico.

In Mexico Metropolis in January, Mariangela gave beginning to a woman they named Ana, however as a result of they didn’t have correct papers, they needed to wait to get a beginning certificates for his or her third baby.

As soon as they obtained it, they utilized for asylum within the US, and after practically three months of ready they acquired approval from US Customs and Border Safety to enter the US legally by Texas.

Ana was born in Mexico City in January 2023
Ana was born in Mexico Metropolis in January 2023

The family trekked through the infamous Darien Gap
The household had simply $300 for the journey and sometimes relied on the kindness of strangers

Ultimately it was a six month journey for the Zambrano household, totally on foot, carrying the whole lot that they had in a single rucksack – and with simply $300 (£235) to their identify.

They’re now settling in to life in New York City.

“I really feel the whole lot was value it, it was value crossing 11 international locations and 4 deserts with no cash, simply with the assistance of strangers, and with God’s assist,” Michael instructed producer Gustavo Aleman in New York.

Pic: Gustavo Aleman
Pic: Gustavo Aleman

Pic: Gustavo Aleman
Pic: Gustavo Aleman

The household has been given a room at a shelter for migrants, in addition to meals and provides for his or her youngsters.

Eldest son Jordan has been enrolled in public faculty the place, Michael proudly notes, he’s studying English.

“The primary day we took him to high school we had been so proud, in spite of everything we’ve been by,” he stated whereas strolling house from faculty with Jordan on his shoulders.

“This happiness will stick with me all my life.”

Michael is busking until his work visa comes through. Pic: Gustavo Aleman
Michael is busking till his work allow arrives. Pic: Gustavo Aleman

Michael is ready for his work allow to reach, however within the meantime he earns a little bit cash busking on the streets within the evenings – he’s a singer.

He stated: “I carry out on the streets on the nook of a restaurant, I sing principally Colombian music, and persons are very supportive.”

He additionally creates content material for his TikTok account, the place he has greater than 36,000 followers.

The Darien Hole is seen as a gateway to America for migrants from all around the world and greater than 500,000 handed by in 2023, based on newest figures accessible.

Once we stated goodbye to Michael and his household – as much as their knees in water and dirt – simply over a 12 months in the past, we wished them luck.

Pic: Gustavo Aleman
It is the beginning of a brand new chapter for the household. Pic: Gustavo Aleman

Nonetheless, we identified that guidelines on the US border had modified and their asylum declare could not be processed on the crossing level.

Michael smiled and shook our palms.

“We are going to get by. The American persons are good, and they’ll hear our story and they’ll allow us to in. God will assist them and assist us,” he stated, wading off into the gap along with his household in tow.

They made it.

An unbelievable journey, however one that always does not finish so effectively for hundreds of others.

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