Wilman Antonio Guerrero Ortega, a.k.a. Junior Guerrero, was born in the little village of Fundacion Magdalena in the middle of a Colombian Civil war.
The middle child of five siblings, he lived in a shack made of branches, paper and plastic. “It was fine for me. I was a kid,” he says. But, from Day one, he found himself facing an uphill battle.
“My dad worked hard to try to make things better for us, but he drank. He would come home every weekend drunk and get really, really violent.” When he was 12, Junior decided he couldn’t stand it anymore. He saved 150,000 Colombian Pesos, the equivalent of 50 Canadian Dollars, and he left, living in the streets and then heading into the mountains to look for work on farms.
“The war was going on and sometimes there was so much violence outside we couldn’t go to work. We just stayed in the house where we lived and hid under the beds.” It was from that house in the mountains that Junior was kidnapped by guerrillas and taken to a training camp for child soldiers.
“They just come to your house and say, ‘We need your kids,’ and you can’t say anything or they will kill you. So many people have died in the mountains trying to protect their children from this. It’s a reality. It’s still happening today, but people say nothing. Because these are poor people, people in the mountains. Nobody cares about them.”
In the camp, Junior saw things that no child should see, including young girls raped and murdered, their bodies left out to rot. He escaped at the first opportunity and went to the police. Then he went back to his village but he found that was also besieged by terrorist guerrillas and the whole family was forced to leave again.
Eventually, Junior learned to operate heavy machinery and started working in construction. He married Maria and they have three children. But he works 55 hours a week and earns the equivalent of $400 Canadian dollars a month. “We have nothing. We can’t buy shoes. I want better opportunities for my children.
People see the better version of Colombia these days. They hear that it’s less violent than it was and that it’s a great place to travel. But what they don’t see is how the poor people live, the children kidnapped by terrorists, the continuing violence by guerilla groups. They don’t see how people like Junior and his family live, a family of five living off $400 a month.
But he is determined to change their lives. That’s why Junior is looking for a job as a skilled worker in Canada. He is determined and incredibly hard working, and any company willing to sponsor Junior’s immigration to Canada would be lucky to have him on board.
Help us get the word out and get Junior Guerrero a job. See his resume here.