Updates from El Salvador

~Pat & Greig McPhee

As Salvadorans emerge from the COVID lockdown, they are facing even more economic uncertainty due to the devastation unleased by Tropical Storms Amanda and Cristobal at the end of May. These caused deadly flooding and landslides and the UN estimates that 336,000 people living in both rural and urban areas are facing severe food insecurity. Thousands of acres of corn fields were flooded and some of their recently planted basic grains may be lost. FUNDAHMER, the NGO that facilitates First United’s sister community relationship, initiated the CONVIDA campaign, for financial assistance to deliver food baskets for affected families, including in El Triunfo.

The need was urgent, so some folks from First, who have visited our sister community over the years, managed to quickly put together a donation of $900 USD for the CONVIDA campaign (approximately 30 baskets of food & supplies).

We received an e-mail from Adonay Miranda (our scholarship student at the University of Central America) telling us about the impact of the storms (“tormentas” in Spanish). The main road through the community was washed out by mudslides and some families were evacuated into shelters. He reflected: “it is very sad that often these extreme events happen in the poorest countries (most affected by climate change) and, the truth is, that people living in these dangerous places are not given much priority”.

Adonay asked our congregation to please pray for their country; he sends his love and wanted us to know that he often thinks of all of us in the church. This year we are having challenges in meeting our financial commitment to the scholarship program. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, our usual fundraisers for El Triunfo – the two Big Book Sales and the Mens’ Club BBQ – have been cancelled. Any support that you can offer will be gratefully appreciated. [Please earmark any donations ‘For El Salvador’ & reference OR acct# 01-4024.]

It was good news to hear that the Supreme Court in the U.S. has blocked President Trump’s administration from its plan to shut down DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) which has allowed nearly 800,000 young people, known as the ‘Dreamers’ to avoid deportation and remain in the U.S. DACA had been created by former President Obama in 2012 to temporarily shield certain immigrants from deportation and made them eligible for work permits. Many of these ‘Dreamers’ came to the U.S. from Latin America, including El Salvador, as very young children, some as unaccompanied minors.

“You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.”

St. Ambrose