In this new blog series, “Letters to the World,” I am giving this space over to the communities we serve with. Since this mission always strives to lift up marginalized voices, I thought that this would be a beautiful way to let oppressed people tell their own stories using their own words. So I posed this question to the people we serve with, “If you could tell the whole world anything about your community, what would you say?” Read. Listen. Open you hearts to people who live the struggle–and pray that they triumph in that struggle.
My name is Brenda del Carmen Ayala. I live with my spouse and daughter. My spouse’s name is José Heriberto Campos and my daughter Aslay Sarahi Campos.
We live in Cantón San Lorenzo, Caserío La Mediagua, in the city of Berlín, Usulután department of El Salvador. This village depended for a long time on the cultivation of coffee, corn, and beans the land is lent for these crops in these rural areas.
A lot of time is given to agricultural production, minimal only to cover the needs of one’s family. [Because of] the lack of work and for this reason of income in the municipality women as much as men leave their homes having to look for work in the capital and return once a month [or] every fifteen days because in the municipality there are no jobs. The economy based on coffee and agriculture had consequences, of an economic, social, and environmental character, because of the overall losses of the grains [in 2015] that the organizations of coffee and agriculture are pointing out.
With regards to the energy industry, the city is 3 kilometers from the energy generation plants from the geothermal vapor that is currently co-administered by the Geo corporation.
In vegetation the flora is the typical flora of a subtropical rainforest. The most notable tree species are the pepeto tree, often used for the creation of shade in the cultivation of coffee, madre cacao, pino de ocote, chaparro. The most notable orographical features in the Municipality of Berlín are the hills.
The best way to arrive in the town from our community Cantón San Lorenzo Caserío La Mediagua is in the cars that transport us twice a week to the town to supply our homes and if we cannot go in car, we walk some thirty minutes to the town. By car it is 15 to 20 minutes.
In agriculture in the cases when there are surpluses of production in basic grains, corn and beans, they are sold principally in the urban area of the municipality. The production of small species like poultry yard birds is also oriented for consumption and on a small scale for sale.
In health in truth we are in bad shape because each year they change doctors and it takes a long time for the replacement to arrive. For example this year we went through January, February, and March and part of April without a doctor and if we go to the main health clinic they do not attend to us because we have a health clinic apart from that one. If a pregnant woman goes urgently to the hospital she has the baby on the way because we are very far away from the hospital of Santiago de María and there are times that we do not have transportation. And when we call the police so that they do us the favor of taking us urgently they never have gas, or they do not feel like helping, or they are afraid of going at night or in the early morning.
In security we are good we all contribute to take are of the community we take turns to watch the road twice a day.
In the environment some take care of the trees, some of us cut them down, some of us burn them. Same for the garbage, it is burned because there is no garbage truck here. The majority do not find something to do with the garbage the only option is to burn it.
In education in past years adults here did not finish their educational studies because there were no possibilities and these days thanks to the Pastoral House group and to the churches that helped us we have middle school. And the other difficulty that we have is that there are just three teachers and every teacher has two grades together. Some first and second and the other third and fourth and for middle school another teacher is needed and they do not have one.
Well, this is what I wanted to say to the world. Thanks to the Pastoral House and the churches.