Vidal Jaquehua travels to the US for the first time
By the time we came to the end of our women's trip to Peru in November, the four of us had bonded with each other and with Vidal. We were friends. As friends, we talked about everything; our personal lives, our businesses, our goals and our dreams. It became apparent to me that Vidal intended to grow his family-run outfit into a much larger business. That started me thinking of ways to help him.
As the 5 of us sat in the airport in Cusco, enjoying our last coffee together, my mind started to churn with ideas about how to do that. All the ideas I threw out, Vidal embraced with enthusiasm. The other women added their ideas and soon we had a cyclonic brainstorming session. I returned to the US with renewed interest in helping Vidal. The first thing I did was to search for venues for travel conventions. Then we would work on getting Vidal a visa and make arrangements for him to attend the convention in person. I found a convention in the DC area and emailed the info to him.
In between tours he would reply to my emails. Communication was strained because Vidal was only able to communicate when he was near a computer and given that he never scheduled any time off for himself, that meant spotty replies and delays in making reservations and other arrangements. I used my personal credit card to make payments and he would wire the funds from Peru to repay me.
The convention was not cheap and even with the sponsor letter provided by the convention hosts, Vidal was rejected for a US visa on his first, second and even his third try. Each attempt cost him money for flights and expenses to travel to Lima plus the actual fee for the interview. He did not tell me all this. Not sure why, but he only told me he was rejected at the first visit.
He was ready to give up and asked if I would go to the convention alone and represent his business. I had an idea. I contacted my local congresswoman just to see if there was anything they could do. Her assistant told me that there might be something she could do if I signed an agreement giving her the authority to do so. I signed without hesitation. After signing, it seemed the only thing she could do was offer to submit a letter of introduction to the embassy in Lima. She wrote it, emailed it to me and I forwarded it on to Vidal.
He booked one more interview in Lima and flew down from Cusco. I was on pins and needles waiting for his call to let me know the outcome. As soon as he called, I could tell by his voice, he had good news. He said, "Miss Jacquie, they treated me like a king." With only a couple weeks until the show, we had to wait to book his airfare until the visa was completed and returned to him. Vidal was coming to the US for the first time in his life.
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