Cesar: Life Does Not End When You Flee to Another Country

Nine years ago, my family and I fled Venezuela when a dictator took over the government. After 29 friends simply disappeared, I was terrified for my wife and young son. So, I abandoned a thriving law practice, and my family said goodbye to our home and lifestyle. When I arrived in Virginia, I could barely speak English. I had no job and nowhere to live. It was deeply humbling.

No family in Loudoun should have to rebuild their lives alone.

As soon as I arrived here, I began to work day jobs and learn English. Friends in the area helped me find the resources I needed to take care of my family’s basic needs—shelter, food, and health care. I am grateful that, even at the worst of times, I could put food on the table for my children.

Then in 2015, I experienced a catastrophic heart failure. Without the care of the local doctors, hospital, and community health center, I would not be here today. They saved my life.

The Next Chapter

Life is so unpredictable. I have learned that there are only three things you need to be happy in life—something to eat, a place to sleep, and someone to love you. First, I learned to be humble and then to be grateful—to God and to this country.

Things are looking up again for my family. I am self-employed, and my two boys are doing well in school. They are my daily motivation—my inspiration. My youngest (born here in 2010) told me when he was just 4 years old that he would be the President of America one day. And, maybe he will! This blessed land is one filled with hope.

We all have decisions to make every day. One day, I decided to leave my home country, and now I have decided to help others. Instead of watching TV or reading, I look for ways to help those in need. I see this as my opportunity to give back and to improve myself. So, I volunteer as a board member for a local nonprofit that helped my family when we needed it most.

We all need to find ways to see past the wealth of this county to see the many people who need a hand up as they move forward in their lives. We need to find a way to make it easy for people to get a fresh start and the food and health care they need. If we all work together, we can help End the Need. It’s a blessing.