Matias, one of the young people from Casa Madre de Tupãrenda (CMT), Paraguay •
Hello, how are you? I am Matías, I am 19 years old and today I want to tell you about my experience. —
When I was 12 years old, I became addicted to drugs. A buddy, a friend from the street, took me to La Chacarita to save, as we call it (it means steal). We went to La Chacarita – which is the poorest and most criminal neighborhood of Asunción – and after that I didn’t want to go home, I just stayed there. Thank God I am well today.
When I was in La Chacarita, I lived on the streets and started committing crimes, stealing and hurting people. When I turned 13, Child Protective Services picked me up, and from then on, I never went back to La Chacarita, but went from jail to jail.
My mother and relatives came to visit me when I was in La Chacarita, they wanted to take me, they wanted to take me home, but I didn’t want that. I went for 2 or 3 days and then ran away from home again.
In La Chacarita I found all the vice, crack, marijuana. I didn’t think of anything else but crack. When I had already consumed a lot of crack, I started committing crimes, and when they caught me one day, I was sent to the prison of Misiones, in the interior, and it was a very fucked up prison for adults, this was in 2020. “Hendy” (flamed out) I was, I started catching everything from the PCC (Primer Comando de Capital, organized crime) and the Rotela clan, and that’s how I ended up in the prison of Misiones, I was there for nine months.
You don’t eat well there, the food is a disaster, all the life there is a mess, and you don’t have visitors because your relatives are far away.
I’ve been to five prisons: Tacumbú, Misiones, Emboscada, Encarnación and Villarrica. In all these prisons, like here in Itauguá in juvenile prisons and then in prisons for adults. In Tacumbú it also sucks, at least when you’re in the corridor. And it’s hard to be there in the corridor, in the shed, you sleep on the floor, when it rains all the mattresses get wet and then when it’s cold you suffer in prison like an animal.
My goal in CMT now is to graduate, to move on and not go back to prison, to get a secure job. With God’s help anything is possible, people, be positive and try!
This week Matias had an interview for his internship at a supermarket, and in a few weeks, he will graduate from Casa Madre de Tuparenda. Thank you, Matias, for sharing your story, thank you for fighting, thank you for being a light in the darkness for each of us, telling us “It is possible.”
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org