June 17, 2019
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Venezuelan travels on foot to Argentina to be present at child's birth

By Pablo Ramon Ochoa.

Buenos Aires, Jan 8 (efe-epa).- Reinaldo Perger left Venezuela two months ago, walking, hitchhiking, crossing five countries with feet full of pain, but has arrived in Buenos Aires in time to be with his Venezuelan girlfriend Fabiola Navarro as she is about to have their baby.

She went to Argentina last July to be with her family and, upon arrival, felt travel sickness that she blamed on the long bus trip, though it turned out to be a symptom of her 10th week of pregnancy. She immediately told Perger, who, having no money to buy a travel ticket, decided to cross South America with no more than the clothes on his back.

"I'll do whatever is necessary, but I'll be there even if I have to teleport myself," the 23-year-old Perger told the 24-year-old Navarro when he was still in Venezuela, recalling the conversation in an interview with EFE.

Now, almost two months after he set out on his walk, the two are back together in the apartment of her parents in the quiet town of Bella Vista, far from the bustle of Buenos Aires, with almost no traffic and some 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) from the place their relationship began.

After Perger got the news about Navarro's pregnancy, he waited several months before crossing the border with a sprained ankle and a gym bag full of clothes that he lost several weeks later along the way.

"Seeing how things stood, I decided to come walking from Cucuta (Colombia), where I stayed for a week deciding which way to go, and which countries offered the easiest route," Perger said.

The way he finally went was similar to that by which so many Venezuelans have traveled south to escape the humanitarian crisis of their country: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and at last, Argentina.

Ecuador, because making contact with the people was somewhat difficult, and Bolivia, for the cold weather he was not used to, were the most complicated parts of the journey, Perger said.

Argentina gave him a surprise Christmas present when he entered the country on Dec. 24: a woman in the northern city of Salta had heard about his travels and welcomed him into her home, served him dinner and gave him a bus ticket to the Retiro station in Buenos Aires.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw him. At last he's here! I felt so happy, so overcome with emotion," Navarro said.

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