Anahí is a Peruvian migrant living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is also a trans woman. At 27 years old, Anahí was taking steps toward her dream of becoming a nurse by working as a caretaker for the elderly and attending high school.
But when her last relationship turned violent, she had to leave her job and school. She no longer had a roof over her head or money for food.
As a trans woman, Anahí is systemically ignored. This makes it difficult for her to obtain the government assistance she qualifies for, but also affects other aspects of her life.
Since escaping that violent relationship, she has had difficulty finding a new job and restarting school. She has also faced roadblocks in her medical care.
Anahí’s healthcare is provided by the Cemar Foundation, where she also receives her gender hormones. She is friends with her doctor Victoria.
Anahí needs gallbladder surgery, which requires pre-operative medical tests that are difficult to get approved for trans women. She also needs to eat healthy beforehand. But since Anahí struggles to get food in general, getting healthy food is an even greater challenge.
Concerned about Anahí, her doctors reached out to the meme-turned-nonprofit organization La Britney de Cada Día. It was through one of their social media posts that Macarena learned about Anahí’s story and asked how she could help.
No Job, No Luck
Anahí has been actively seeking a job without success. Without a job or government aid, Anahí has no income. Without income, she must rely on the kindness of others for her basic needs.
After hearing her story, Macarena felt sickened by the men who hurt Anahí, and outraged by the Argentinian government taking too long to help. Instead of waiting indefinitely for government officials, Macarena decided to help Anahí now.
Ever since Anahí escaped that violent relationship, she has struggled to find a new job and catch up on school work.
Without a smartphone, Anahí lost contact with her classmates. Smartphones are stolen so frequently in Buenos Aires that most locals keep their old ones at home as backups.
So when Macarena gifted her their old smartphone, Anahí almost did not believe it. Anahí was excited about going back to school, but she also had not eaten in three days. With their own money, Macarena also bought Anahí a week’s worth of food.
Although her neighbors and soup kitchens help with food, they’re not dependable. Sometimes soup kitchens close for multiple days and no neighbors reach out.
Because of this, Macarena decided to also donate a month’s worth of food to Anahí thanks to funding from Random Acts. While shopping for the food, Anahí and Macarena enjoyed their time sharing their favorite recipes and stories from their different birthplaces of Peru and Argentina.
La Britney de Cada Día has been paying for Anahí to live in a “family hotel.” While this is more comfortable than the streets, it is not ideal. These accommodations are often cheap and poorly maintained. All residents, often a handful of families, share one bathroom and one kitchen.
Unfortunately, Anahí has faced more obstacles at the hotel. The owner had threatened to evict her, but could not because her rent was paid. Instead, he would frequently break into her room, stealing and breaking her belongings in the hopes that she would leave.
Whenever Anahí would contact law enforcement, they would do more harm than good. Since she is a trans woman, the police label her as one of “them” and blame her for “disrupting the peace.”
Even more, after Macarena took Anahí shopping for the month’s supply of groceries, they were promptly stolen by the owner and other residents.
They did not believe that the food belonged to Anahí. They assumed she stole it, so decided to steal it from her. When law enforcement got involved, they also did not believe the food was hers.
Showing the police the receipts was not enough. Macarena then stepped in, explaining about Random Acts and how she bought the food. After much effort, the police finally believed Anahí. They agreed to reimburse the cost of the food so she could re-buy it.
Looking Forward, Looking Up
Even though she had to endure the stress of yet another robbery, this one ended with a change for the better. The hotel owner spent 3 days in jail and the other residents were required to move out. Only Anahí, her current boyfriend, and the doorman were allowed to stay.
Since Anahí no longer lives in fear that her neighbors or the building owner will rob her again, she can leave her home more often and worry-free. She can run errands, shop for food, and search for a job without the added worry that she will return to an empty room yet again.
Shortly after Macarena’s act of kindness, Anahí confirmed that her application for government aid had been approved and would begin the following month. Thanks to Random Acts and Macarena’s personal donations, Anahí had enough food and a better living situation in the meantime.
Anahí is not one to wait around hopelessly for help that may never come. But when a helping hand comes her way, she welcomes the kindness from others. Despite her circumstances, she remains determined to find a path to a better life.
“I felt inspired by her. She has such a drive,” Macarena said. “Any time she tried to better her situation she was confronted with hate, with ignorance, with bigotry. And I could still see in her an optimism, hope, and happiness that I’m not sure I would have in her situation.”