I know that you must receive thousands of these types of requests, from many people, most who just want a free lunch! This is not the case here, and with full disclosure, I am hoping that the small amount I am asking for would get me back on the other side of the fence.
To begin with, I am not expecting to hear back from anyone or even get any support, but after weeks of anguish, and trying everything from crowdfunding, Facebook groups, and direct emails, I thought, it is time to try here.
Now to really understand how I got myself to this point, asking for support is a long story, a very long story.
I am an Australian, currently 57 years old, with a 5-year-old Colombian child, who decided to visit South America for a 10-week vacation in 2012. After enjoying my initial experience I decided to extend my time and see more of the continent. I ended up in Colombia after visiting many of the countries, where, in 2014, I found out that I was the father of a beautiful little boy, named Ian.
At this point, I had to make a decision, either be part of his life or go back home to Australia and live a good life working in a well-paid industry. I decided to do the responsible thing and stay, thinking it should be easy, boy! was I wrong.
There was no romantic involvement with the mother, I only stayed in Colombia to assist in the upbringing of my son and to give him every chance in life by being bilingual for his future, giving him more opportunities to secure work in Western countries.
Now, most people would think that was a commendable thing to do, and I thought it would not be a problem being the father of a Colombian national, once again wrong. Here in Colombia to gain residency, you needed the mother to sign a document saying that I was diligent in my duties and paying maintenance, which I was, but she simply refused to sign any documents.
Being in Colombia it was impossible to gain any employment whilst being here on a tourist visa, so to keep up with my responsibilities, I started to work online as an English teacher. The next problem was the time allowed to stay in the country, which was 180 days in a calendar year. This started another saga, where I had to flip between Venezuela and Colombia every 3 months.
In June 2015 there was an incident, where unprovoked, the mother violently assaulted me and caused extensive damage to my teeth as well as other injuries, where everything changed.
I was earning $500 US a month from my online teaching and the dental repair was going to cost me 550,000 pesos, roughly $2000 US. On top of paying my rent, food, and maintenance, this was going to take some time to fix. I had the temporary acrylic silicone crowns put on, but never made it, to get the porcelain crowns, anyhow I am not here for that, my need is more into the hardship realm.
Many things have happened since that time period. Being a foreigner, I was always a target for robberies on a regular basis, stealing cell phones and laptops, always costing me more and more, eventually exhausting all the savings that I had.
Whilst my mother was still alive, when I really needed help, she was always there to help me. Sadly, she passed away on the 2nd of April 2017 and I have no other family to ask. The next major problem was the conflict between Venezuela and Colombia where they closed the borders, which in effect, forced me into an illegal alien status, in the wrong country, Venezuela. I had to get my way back into Colombia and try to gain assistance from the Australian embassy, which fell on deaf ears, as they did not assist in family matters regarding my son. Here is the response I received – Andrzej, you will need to talk to Migracion Colombia about work rights and work visas for people in your situation. The Australian Embassy cannot advise on Colombian migration laws and rules.
OK, what next? I tried everything I could, with no outcome in the positive. I was living in Colombia, I had no contact with my son and I was always worried about immigration. The online work was the only thing keeping me alive and living with a hope for change. I have suffered deep depression over that time period, but have kept going, trying to make a change in my life and for the life of my son.
The change did come when the grandfather obtained legal custody of my son, and being a reasonable man wanted to help me with this situation. Not in a financial way, but by giving me the documents needed to gain residency here in Colombia, and spend time with my son. This was a wonderful gesture, but once again I did not have the money to pay for the process. So at this point, I have unfinished dental work needing completion, still living here illegally and currently out of work with no form of income at all.
I am not asking for money for my residential visa, I am not asking for money to fix my teeth, which sadly looks worse due to an accident just before Christmas which knocked out 4 of the silicone crowns, I am asking for assistance to simply pay my upcoming rent in January, due on the 5th – 2020, to avoid more issues and becoming homeless in a country far away from home.
I have documents (rental agreement, dental receipt, etc) and photos to support my story and am ”begging” for the mere amount of $500 US to pay my rent, pay for my son’s school fees and buy some food. I know that I will have work in the New Year, and I know that I will be back in a manageable situation, and not being in this current position.
So if this falls into the category of financial hardship and there is some way that anyone, someone can do anything to help, it would not only help me, but it will help the spiritual and educational life of a 5-year-old boy.
Andrzej (Andrew) Mula
I am also willing to work for any donations in my field as a Desktop Support Technician or anyone needing help in obtaining their IELTS exam and English lessons, as I am currently a certified TESOL instructor with over 7 years of teaching experience online.