Jean: “I spent fifteen years living in Venezuela and four years in the US. I was in the US because my mother had a business visa. And literally the first order of Trump was to eliminate those visas. So we had to flee. 

When we first moved to the US, my mother was still very paranoid. In Venezuela, the chances of being robbed on the street or kidnapped were very high. The first time I walked from school to my grandma’s house I got robbed. That’s one out of one times I tried walking home from school I got robbed. A week after that we left to the US.

My mother was affected by all this and it took her a long time to adjust to the US. It was a while before she’d even let me go outside to the park just in front of our house. That was very strange to be able to leave the house because I was never able to do that in Venezuela.

Right now Venezuela is in the middle of an economic crisis. The people are angry. It’s been going on for a while so people have lost hope and patience. What you see on TV is not even half of the story. My dad and sister is still in Venezuela and life just has to carry on…”

Mathilde: “I have a disease called Ulcerative Colitis that literally affects one in a million and I recently discovered that there’s somebody else in my class with exactly the same disease. So now we have sleepovers and hang out. 

I used to be in chronic pain because to my disease. When you’re in the middle of the disease you always hope to get better. 

To have had constant pain and to no longer have it any more feels amazing. I just want to keep living pain free. 

But to have something as part of your personality for 17 years and for it then to go is surprisingly difficult. I always had the illness, and so I was almost babied in a way.

I guess I feel lucky for my disease because it only allowed me to surround myself with good people. I couldn’t go to parties, I couldn’t fake it. So I knew when people liked me and I knew when they didn’t. I’m grateful for that. At least I didn’t have fake people around me.”

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