LIMA, Peru—Last December, Maria Victoria Fernandez, a 26-year-old nurse from Caracas, Venezuela, began traveling by bus to Peru, having decided that life in her home country was no longer tenable. The journey of nearly 3,000 miles through Colombia and Ecuador and down Peru’s Pacific coastline to Lima took her five days to complete. She had $170 in her pocket and her 2-year-old daughter, Sofia, on her lap.
The day they left home, Sofia fell sick, meaning the trip was, for Fernandez, more stressful than any hospital shift she could remember. “We didn’t have medicine, and she had a fever and diarrhea and kept vomiting,” Fernandez says. “It was awful. I remember my anguish throughout the whole trip.”
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