I'm back from London, where every street was rich with history, with elaborate architectural detail, with an immense variety of people from all parts of our world. Thanks to our Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace Congregation Programme, we were able to see beyond that beauty and visible wealth to the struggles of those who are just trying to survive, trying to get a foot in the door, or losing their petition for asylum.
Now I'm back in El Salvador where history is briefer and more ambiguous,where there's less variety of peoples, but where the struggle to survive is often sharper and more challenging.
The problems my Salvadoran friends have to confront and survive make me sad and humble. One of my friends called to tell me his brother had been arrested, accused of a murder that happened two years ago. My friend thinks he can prove his brother was at work at the day and hour of the murder, but he has to find money for a lawyer to put those proofs before the court, and his family is poor.
Another friend stopped by with her 18-year-old daughter, who is scheduled for kidney surgery tomorrow. She's been taking care of her daughter and her father, who has a failing heart. She makes her family's living by doing laundry, and she's looking pretty desperate right now.
I can help a little, thanks to Sisters and Associates who have generously given money that I save for the needs of people here in Suchitoto, but it's very limited help, and the needs are huge. I'm painfully aware of the gap between the rich world - in London asylum seekers who were admitted could also get housing and some income support - and the poor world, where the struggle just to put food on the table can be overwhelming.