Multiculture, Profiles

Fernando Mazuera: happy and with no plans to go back to Colombia

This 34 year-old Colombian arrived in the UK in 2000, and since then his life has involved many of the situations that are common for immigrants.

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Fernado Mazuera from Cali, didn’t come to England because of economic problems, or to learn another language or have an adventure. He left Colombia because they were going to kill him.

His boss had given the order: a mafioso that he worked for as a bodyguard. The reason: he had had an affair with his wife and the boss found out and sent for him. Luckily the boss’s wife phoned him and told him to escape because they were coming to get him.

After hiding for 15 days in the house of a distant relation, waiting for his passport, Fernando left Colombia for Spain. But he didn’t like it there, because he didn’t get on with the Spanish, some of those he met were quite racist. And neither did he get on with some of his fellow countrymen, who offered to get him involved in dangerous things like burglaries.

He decided to go to the UK, via France, because at that time it was easier to enter England from there. Once arrived at Heathrow, without knowing anyone or anything and not speaking English, he took the Underground to Piccadilly and went for a walk around. After a while he saw the Colombian flag waving at the door of a restaurant.

Mazuera went in to eat something and stayed until it closed, and the owner asked him if he was lost. He told her he wasn’t lost, but had just arrived and was looking for a hostel or somewhere to stay. She and her husband, both Colombians, invited him to stay in their house until he found something.

At first he was helping them in the restaurant as much as he could, while they introduced him to managers and supervisors who came in.

After a few months he rented a flat in Brixton and began working as a cleaner. He carried on doing this work for all the years that he was without proper documents, and still continues now, as a supervisor for two different companies.

What excited him most was that after a year he managed to get his residence permit in the UK, and that he fell hopelessly in love, and became engaged to a Colombian woman. They have one daughter and are expecting another child.

During these years Fernando has settled into the city and has had no problems with English people through being an immigrant. His problems have come from his fellow countrymen.

Some of them took advantage of him to make him work longer hours.

Now Mazuera feels happy  and is not thinking of going back to Colombia. He believes his life would still be in danger there, and it doesn’t make sense to run that risk. Above all, he thinks about his daughter and their other one on the way. Two girls who, if all goes well, will study in London.

(Translated by Graham Douglas – Email: ondastropicais@yahoo.co.uk)

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