Exodus?

By: J Roufs

Our first group has been here a total of 5  days and we have experienced quite a bit of activity within the community in which we are living. The kids made friends quickly (as they utilized the few Spanish words they know): "hola, coma estas, buenos dias, adios." Language, however, has not been a barrier as they have loved everyone that walks by the house. Tori and Amanda found a local school that the kids will be able to attend 2 times a week, as Amanda teaches pre-school and Tori teaches English classes. Tori is also volunteering 2 times a week with Jaimee at a local medical clinic, assisting a mid-wife.

These are just a few of the practical things that have developed within the short amount of time we have been here. We have also enjoyed meals and coffee with many of our neighbors and have heard more of the history and current situation of the people of El Salvador. One of the common things mentioned to us is that during the War of the 80s there was a mass exodus of Salvadorenos to the United States. This exodus of people split up families, both siblings from siblings, as well as parents from children. The extreme situation that caused the war catapulted people to flee the lives they had known for generations. Now 20-30 years after the war, many of the those that have left the country have become settled in another land and also find themselves too old in age to move 'back home' to El Salvador.

Many of the people that left back in the 80s were in their 20s and 30s (now they are about 50-60 years old). Those left behind were young, most in their childhood years. Now El Salvador is populated largely by people in their 20s and early 30s. The people we have spoken with during our stay desire change for their country. They crave a hope that will allow them to see that they don't need to leave their country in order to find life. The exodus of people from El Salvador happened on a grand scale in the 80s, but it is still in people's hearts today, and it is engraved in them to think that it is the only way change can happen.