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Feature Story XpBonaire IslandLife

At times we hear about the struggles that some families go through on Bonaire. Most problems start with drugs and alcohol and end with the destruction of whole families. The more details we hear, the more we understand a person’s struggle to crawl out of the pit. It is even more inspirational when we are allowed into someone’s life and can understand their fight to create and succeed in a new destiny.

Gerson Ignacia, 21 years old, was not fond of the idea of opening up about his life’s struggles. Nevertheless, by sharing his life, he knew he could be a role model for younger people going through similar problems. He wants you to know that there is hope when you focus and are willing to work hard for what you want. This idea encouraged him to agree to some radio and print interviews.


Gerson grew up the youngest of 4 siblings, with a mother who struggled to take care of her children and a man who was addicted to alcohol, cocaine and more. Families fighting addiction know how hard it is to disengage from the addicted person. Only after some extremely violent incidents did his mother decide, after 15 years of marriage, to divorce her husband, the father of her children.

His father, in a drug haze, started to attack his best friend, his wife and even his own children by chasing them with a machete. After accidently injuring his best friend, his father was incarcerated for 2 years. Besides these traumatic incidents, the family was struggling financially along with their emotional hurts and anger.


Growing up as a teenager, Gerson experienced his father’s addiction first hand and promised himself and his mother to better their lives. Gerson always wanted to give his mother a more comfortable life and some extras she would love to own.

He went to school and chose a course of study to become a construction worker like his father, but even though he succeeded, he knew it was not what he wanted. Struggling with trust and his anger, he went to Forma to further his social skills. Dealing with others, building trust and being able to confront a problem from a calm place was hard at first, but in the end he mastered it.

After Forma, he spend 1 ½ years at Krusada as part of the labor activation project, Warda Mirin, in Papiamento, “protect what is yours”. He started in the Krusada shop where at first he had a hard time integrating into the group, but slowly and surely he succeeded. Later he worked at the greenhouse project and enjoyed learning more about the plants and the workings of the greenhouse.


Gerson always dreamed of becoming a security guard. Just recently he completed his time at Krusada and was invited to a job interview at Plaza Beach Resort. He is now a security guard, clocking employees in and out, holding the gate and securing the premises of Plaza. He signed his first contract which will be continued once he completes his first half year.

Gerson is happy to have this responsible job and work to build his and his mother’s future.

He dreams of his own car, house, wife and children - a comfortable, secure and peaceful life. He wants to make sure that his children learn to be responsible, independent and know how to fend for themselves by being a hard working responsible role model for them.

We thank Gerson for sharing his story with us.

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