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COLOMBIA: Migrant discovers Don Bosco

Reiber Sumoza is a 29-year-old Venezuelan

Young Venezuelan receives support for tightrope skill


(MissionNewswire) Reiber Sumoza is a 29-year-old Venezuelan who settled in Colombia after leaving his country due to the tough economic circumstances. While he is trained and has worked in maintenance of air conditioners, he discovered the athletic practice of tightrope and has since made a living with this skill. He’s received support for his skills from the Salesians and hopes to build a better life.

When Sumoza left Venezuela to find work, he also left his two children and his wife behind. He explained, “I haven’t seen them in all this time. It is not easy to talk to them every day, or sometimes every week, but I have a dream to be able to go back this year to be with them, even if for a short time.”

Sumoza has practiced tightrope walking for seven years and has showcased his skills on the streets of Colombia.

One day, Salesian Father Luis Fernando Velandia, director of the Juan Bosco Obrero Technical and Vocational Training Center in Bogotá, stopped to ask what he was doing. Sumoza explained, “The second time we met. He gave me a lot of food and every now and then he would come by and we’d chat. He gave me a Superman costume for one of the numbers I do on the rope, so they call me the Superman of the Santa Lucia neighborhood.”

Fr. Velandia suggested Sumoza join the circus school in the center, but despite several attempts he failed. He noted, “It was due to lack of time because I have to work to eat and live. In return, he lets me go to train there and calls me to do shows for the children.”

Life is not easy for Sumoza, but he finds joy and hope in his skills. He concluded, “With the first coin I receive every day, my spirit rises. I may be sad one day, but when I get on the rope and feel the appreciation of the audience, I feel relieved. Of course, it is difficult to do a hundred traffic lights a day, but we must move forward, because God has a purpose for each of us.”

Just over 34% of Colombians are living below the poverty line. Although Colombia is among the world’s emerging economies, more than three out of 10 Colombians still live in poor conditions. Colombia is also the world’s seventh most inequitable country. By providing education, workforce development services and social programs across Colombia, Salesian missionaries are working to empower youth and given them a chance at a better life.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Colombia – “Reiberman”, the Venezuelan migrant tightrope walker who discovered Don Bosco in Colombia

Salesian Missions – Colombia

World Bank – Colombia

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