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Members of the Hernández family pose for a photo at their home in the Villa María del Triunfo neighborhood in southern Lima, on June 25, 2020
The 14 members of the Hernández family arrived two years ago with high hopes to Peru from Venezuela, but the coronavirus now put their dreams in check: the grandfather died and the others are struggling to overcome the disease, two of them hospitalized.
« I think my life is going away, » says Wilmer Ramón Hernández, 44, with difficulty, lying in his home in southern Lima and connected to an oxygen tank to breathe.
Her father, Wilmer Arcadio Hernández, 63, lost the battle against the coronavirus on Sunday, June 21, while Father’s Day was celebrated in Peru and Venezuela.
« My husband gave up his oxygen for his dad, but unfortunately he had already suffered too much, on Sunday at 3:40 in the morning he dies, » says Wilmer Ramón’s wife, Ruth Delgado, 37.
« We had to cry silently inward as one says, to see the old man who left us, » adds this nurse who in Peru cannot practice her profession.
– « Everyone is positive » –
Peru has hosted more than 800,000 Venezuelans who fled the crisis in their country. Most arrived by land, after crossing Colombia and Ecuador.
Los Hernández are from the city of Barquisimeto (western Venezuela), where Wilmer Ramón was a singer in a mariachi band that serenaded parties and company events.
The 14 traveled to Peru by bus: Wilmer Ramón, Ruth, the couple’s nine children, the grandfather and two of the children’s uncles.
Once in Lima, Wilmer Ramón resumed his mariachi job with one of his children, while other adults from the large family worked as taxi drivers or street vendors, including Ruth.
They rented a rustic three-story brick house on the side of a hill in the populous Lima district of Villa María del Triunfo, near the Nueva Esperanza Cemetery.
They were doing well in their new expat life, so they were confident they would get ahead. Until the pandemic hit them.
« In the molecular tests there are only six positives, but symptomatically they are all positive, from the girl under the age of six to the most adult, who was my father-in-law, who has already passed away, » Ruth told ..
« Little by little the children were falling. They were falling one by one, everything was changing in the home. Now the one who is most delicate is my husband, » adds the woman with regret.
– « We are 13 » –
For the past three weeks the Hernández family have been in quarantine at their home, where they have painted an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, to which they pray every day to heal.
Although a photograph of Wilmer Ramón dressed as a mariachi is also hanging, the charro suits and the huge Mexican hats were kept, as were the musical instruments.
No one visits them, except for a doctor and a Social Security Health nurse, who come to the house every two days to examine them and give them treatment.
« The situation is difficult with the pandemic, too difficult because we are a large family. We were 14, unfortunately we are already 13, » says Ruth. « Here we are surviving every night, which is terrible. »
Peru has been hit hard by the pandemic. Some 280,000 people have contracted the virus in this country of 33 million inhabitants, of whom more than 9,000 have died.
– In intensive care –
Although the Hernándezes can no longer go out to work, they spent $ 440 to rent an oxygen tank for Wilmer Ramón, the most serious of all after the grandfather’s death. The money was obtained from donations from friends.
« My chest is locked and I begin to lose consciousness, (it is) something very strong the pain in my back. I feel very bad about suffocations, sometimes I think I will not tolerate them, » says the mariachi while showing . a photo of his late father on his mobile phone.
« One says if I am going to dawn or I am not going to dawn, or in any suffocation I will stop breathing. That is what worries me the most and the impatience of not having oxygen. I already lost my dad due to lack of oxygen, » he adds. .
A few hours after Wilmer Ramón spoke to ., his health condition deteriorated. The same happened with his eldest son, Wilmer Jesús, 25 years old.
By medical indication, both were transferred to hospitals in the southern area of Lima.
The father was admitted to the Villa El Salvador hospital and the son to the emergency hospital for patients with coronavirus enabled in the Pan American Villa in Lima, where athletes from all over the continent stayed during the 2019 Games.
Wilmer Ramón now remains in the intensive care unit.