Caracas, Venezuela - Calgary
Art by Emily Honderich
Betty Veloso story
Betty Veloso is 28 years old and was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela to Chilean parents. She is the youngest of five siblings. In 2016 she earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. In 2017 she arrived in Calgary where she currently lives with her husband.
ME, MY FAMILY, AND COVID
As a Venezuelan in Canada, away from my family who now live in Chile, emotions have been strongly affected by the pandemic. One side of me is immensely grateful to live in this country. I feel safer here than I would at home. I consider that Canada has followed prevention protocols and has taken more effective, timely measures than many other places around the world.
However, I worry a great deal about being away from my family during this difficult time. My parents are part of the most vulnerable population due to their age and their pre-existing health conditions. They have been in lockdown since March. The hospitals in Chile are over-run with COVID cases, yet many citizens there do not seem to be aware of the situation. This, of course, will slow down the process of going back to safety. It is difficult to look on from such a distance. I ask myself if my parents and family are being honest about their food, supplies, and their mental health. Sometimes, it's not easy to tell on Zoom or WhatsApp, but at least we keep connected, we celebrate virtual birthdays, and offer some cheer to one another.
A few weeks ago, we as a family faced a complex situation. My sister-in-law in Chile had to be taken to hospital for an urgent surgery. Given that their local hospital was not the best for that procedure, she had to be taken to another hospital in another city. Once there, she was completely alone throughout her stay. Due to COVID, nobody other than patients was allowed in the hospital. I felt very helpless. I could do nothing. How lonely she must have felt! This virus has hit us all hard. For those whose families have been separated, it has been even harder. The only real hope my parents have is that there will soon be a vaccine. Then they will be able to recover their freedom, resume their lifestyle, and, at last, enjoy reunions with others! I will rejoice when this happens. We will get through it!
"This virus has hit us all hard. For those whose families have been separated, it has been even harder. The only real hope my parents have is that there will soon be a vaccine. Then they will be able to recover their freedom, resume their lifestyle, and, at last, enjoy reunions with others!"