Introduction to Jose M Galindo
My name is Jose Galindo and I come from Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Most people in the world have heard by now of all the chaos in my home country. The picture above is of the huge protests in Caracas against the government of Nicolas Maduro. I am an English and Spanish teacher that works with children and teenagers to help them speak the language. Honestly, my time in my home country finished and I decided to come to Medellin, Colombia. I am a Christian, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ living my Medellin Miracle story.
The Beginning of the Quest
My Medellin Miracle story quest started in 2017.
I was crossing the border from Santa Elena de Uairen to the town of Pacaraima. I was planning to meet a friend in Sao Paulo. Well, it all turned out to be a fatal mistake. I couldn’t get past the town of Boa Vista in Roraima department and ended up there sleeping in the street (specifically on a cold sidewalk for two days). Some Evangelical churches from that area of Brazil were giving out some fresh food for all the Venezuelans that immigrated there. I had a good portion of chicken, rice, soup, juice, Coke, and bread.
I went back to Barquisimeto, Venezuela just to realize that the trip to Sao Paulo would cost me a lot of money. In fact, that is why I came back. My friend just told me that the trip would cost me around 800 dollars!!! (Just see the image below)
I just had less than 90 dollars the moment I got to Boa Vista and ended up with less than 30 when I decided to return. It was absolute madness!
The Journey to Santa Fe de Bogota
I carried on with my life in Venezuela. Then I began to see options in the city of Bogota, Colombia and got answers from five different job sources. I told my mom (Yes, I must admit to my embarrassment that at my 32 years old I was living with mama) that that was my chance. I quickly packed my stuff and in October 2018, I arrived by land to the city of Bogota crossing the border from San Antonio (in Tachira state, Venezuela) to Cucuta (In the department of Santander, Colombia) to then take a coach that would take me to the capital of Cundinamarca department.
Well, Bogota is a huge city and it is cold. I managed to take SITPs, Transmilenio double-decker buses, and normal buses to get along. I arrived at Salitre Bus terminal and met with a great brother from church called Xavier. He met me there and we went together to stay in a residence located in the neighborhood of Barrancas, in Carrera Septima (7th Avenue), and close to the famous building titled North Point and the Longman Pearson book store. That very same afternoon, I went to Teleperformance located in El Dorado area in Bogota. Their huge headquarters was located in a building titled Connecta Bussiness Ecosystem building. The recruiters were highly interested in me but when they realized I had no PEP (Permiso Especial de Permanencia or Spacial Permanence Permit) they kindly told me to get it and then come back again.
When I got there, things began to go downhill. Xavier’s friend just wanted me to stay there for only a few days and the two of us plus Marcos, another friend from church, began to look for a place to sleep and stay. I went to a church called Euphoria Church, located in Suba that Sunday. Some Colombian brothers decided to take me to their house to at least sleep a night there. They lived in Los Cerritos at the North of Bogota and slept in a very cozy and comfortable apartment.
My Bogota Job Search Begins
I then began to look for jobs and a Call Center enterprise also called me. The call center place was located exactly inside the North Point building in the Seventh Avenue at the far North of Bogota (The Simon Bolivar Hospital is located a few blocks away). The psychologist received me and they almost agreed to hire me until they also realized I had no PEP. That very thing frustrated me to the uttermost.
Then, my friends and I moved out from Barrancas to an apartment located in Molinos, at the far south of Bogota to stay there. Before that, we slept in the streets and slept in some other houses around. I slept for two nights in a house in Teusaquillo, specifically in front of the Profamilia Transmilenio Stop. In there, I stayed for almost three weeks, looking for jobs in the capital unsuccessfully. many times I was running out of money to even go on and I was frankly frustrated and angry.
I had to leave the apartment since there were people who were going to stay at that moment. It was almost Christmas Eve, and I had no choice but to leave the apartment. Against all odds, I ended up staying in a house near Normandia and began going to the center of Bogota. I spent a good time with lots of tourists but my entrance visa was almost about to be over. Fortunately, I was able to get my PEP and print it since the Government opened a new chance for Venezuelans to get the document online. However, I had no choice than coming back to Venezuela that January of 2019. Despite I had my PEP, I was facing a huge fine and to avoid that at all cost, I had to come back to Venezuela.
My Medellin Miracle is now Taking Shape
I was sad, angry, and totally out of my mind. Then I began to work in a school in Barquisimeto called Rio Claro teaching English. Chile seemed to be a very good option but had no contacts whatsoever. To make the story short, Chile was not an option. The ironic part is that I didn’t want to know ANYTHING about Colombia. I tried Ecuador, Uruguay, and Brazil again. Nothing.
Then I decided to do things right. I began to seek Evangelical English speaking churches in Medellin and I found Grace Church Medellin. I wrote a man named Steve Tuggle and he kindly answered all my questions and offered me his help. At the very end, a Colombian lady managed to find a place for me to sleep for twenty days. With my hopes renewed, I gathered money and decided to travel to the city of Medellin from Cucuta again the 30th of June of 2019. I stayed in an apartment in a neighborhood titled Calasania II.
During this time, I got to know interesting people like The Tuggle family, Andrew Stringer (a very schematic elder and pastor), Andrew’s family, and other acquaintances while I am now working in looking for jobs that can provide me with a great chance to make a living and pursue my ultimate goals and also teaching English privately to some students and congregating in a great church in the Poblado area.
Written by Jose Galindo.