DENVER (KDVR) — Juan Carlos, a migrant living in Denver, said he was an orphan in his native Peru. As a child, he received medical care in the United States for a cleft lip.

Juan Carlos learned English. Later, he had a child with his wife, Arianna, in Venezuela. Now he’s using his English language skills to help other migrants in the city.

A month ago, Juan Carlos and his wife brought their son, 2-year-old Kurt, from Venezuela and across Colombia to the deep jungle that separates Central and South America.

“On foot, with the baby,” Juan Carlos said. “I take the baby here like a kangaroo.”

Family journeys 2 continents to the US

The family had to trek dangerous and steep terrain to cross from one continent to another.

The descent was treacherous. The family contemplated giving up.

“The children would get restless. They cried, they screamed,” Arianna said. “It would make the parents very nervous.”

A new life for him and his family in the United States motivated Juan Carlos to carry on, despite the harrowing experience.

“We see people, also, dead there,” Juan Carlos said. “We see like 20 dead people.”

Juan Carlos and his wife, Arianna, traveled two continents with their 2-year-old son and are hoping to start a new life in Denver. (Credit: Rogelio Mares, KDVR)

The family sold their car and belongings back in Venezuela to have cash for the trip, but resources ran thin, especially in the jungle.

“There was five days to cross that jungle,” Juan Carlos said. “There was three day we was having food, but two days, no.”

The fear was evident: No food could mean they were stranded in the wilderness.

“It was a terrible experience,” Arianna said. “We had to find a way to feed our child, because we could go on without food. He could not.”

They forged on the next two days, finally arriving in Guatemala. One bus ride after another and, finally, they were in Mexico.

Gaining footing while helping others

From there, a long and dangerous train ride brought them to the Southern border of the United States.

A month passed and the family is staying with another family in Denver, thankful for the hospitality. But for Juan Carlos, the work continues.

“I know I have help, and I am helping people,” Juan Carlos said.

He’s helping distribute donations to families and other migrants at the encampment he once called home.

“I think I will be in peace when all these people can be in a safe home,” Juan Carlos said.