The everyday reality of two refugees from Venezuela as they work in the buses of downtown Lima.


6 min 56 sec






The Netherlands / Peru

Life Away From Home (2018)

There is no way of avoiding vendors nowadays when you are using public transportation in Lima. Some bake cookies, others write stories or play an instrument. The vast majority of these vendors are young men from Venezuela. They fled from the disastrous situation in their homeland, where life became impossible after rapid inflation and severe violence tore their country apart.

I was in Lima in the beginning of March 2018 and had to wait two weeks for my plane to leave for Chile. I had spoken to these vendors a few times before, and I really admired the spirit and bravery of these young people. I decided to approach them with a camera and to ask if I could follow them for a while.

The first day I followed a few different guys to understand how they do what they do, and that's where I met José Ángel. I really admired his optimistic nature and positive energy. He managed somehow to make something beautiful and adventurous from this bad situation. Like many others, he had to leave his country but he embraced this situation and gave it all he got. He called this period his 'artistic period'. He wants to use this time to travel around and see the world. When he will gather enough money, he will go to Europe and practice his craft over there.

Some time later I was riding the bus and bought cookies from another vendor. We started talking and I noticed that the situation hit him a bit harder. He was only 19 years old and had been away from his family for a year. And in two months he was expecting his first son. That was probably why he looked a little tired. Tirso is a charming and charismatic young man. He is very social and everybody likes him a lot. He has this way with people, laughing and making jokes all the time. He's a man of strong values, especially when it comes to family. But being away from his own family makes him feel hurt at times.

From the first moment I met these guys, they treated me as their best friend and I really admire how welcoming and friendly they have been. They want people to know the impact this conflict has had on them and I hope my documentary will give them a stage and will do justice to the message they're trying to convey.