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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Argentine weaver: Petrona Fleitas
My name is Petrona Fleitas. I just turned 60 in February and I have six children, five boys and one girl.

Petrona Fleitas in Buenos Aires (picture courtesy IOM)
Name: Petrona Fleitas
Age: 60
Lives: Buenos Aires
Work: Seeking work as weaver
I live with my fifth child, who is separated. One of my sons passed away during the [financial] crisis in 2002.

I moved to Buenos Aires from a small town in Misiones Province, Candelario.

My children came before me to look for work. Once they all left, I was lonely and wanted to be near them.

I came with just one bag of clothing and left most of my things with my sister or sold them. I sold the house for very little money in order to buy one here.

The trip was a 20-hour bus ride. My first impression of Buenos Aires was that it was better here, prettier. I thought I would have more opportunities and a chance to get ahead. But up to now, I haven't been able to.

The big buildings didn't scare me because I had been to Posadas [the capital of Misiones province] but I don't go out of the shanty town much. I don't go out because I can't read very well and I'm afraid of getting lost.

'Difficult life'

There is a big difference when you compare prices in Misiones and Buenos Aires.

For example, vegetables and fruits are more expensive because in Misiones we grow them. Housing is also much more expensive. On the other hand, beef, noodles, rice and all other products like clothing are much cheaper.

Petrona Fleitas in Buenos Aires (picture courtesy IOM)
Petrona Fleitas hopes one day to move out of the shanty town

I have not found work yet. My age doesn't permit me to find work. And even when I do find something, people don't accept me because I don't have any references here.

I never worked outside of the house before. I was always at home. So, up to now, I have just been staying with my children. However, I am trying to start a small business selling products I weave and knit.

I am glad I moved because I am close to my children now and that makes me happy. Here I can see them and how they live.

I have hope that I will get ahead even though it is hard. I just took out a loan from the International Organization for Migration's microcredit program, Project Recuperar, to buy yarn to knit shawls, hats and scarves. I haven't sold much yet because I have to find buyers but once I do I'm sure I'll get ahead.

Living in the shanty town is very difficult. We lack many things. I hope that one day we will have enough money to move out of here and improve our quality of life.

Interview and pictures by Jessica Koehs, of the International Organization for Migration

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