My friend Meg Marshall spent the past 18 months as a volunteer with Catholic Relief Services in El Salvador. Her time in the country now over, Meg returned to the US by land, following the route of so many Salvadoran migrants. She details what she learned on this journey in an article titled Walking in the Shoes of a Migrant on the Catholic Relief Services web site:
I decided to travel by land from El Salvador to Mexico, not as a tourist, but as an engaged person of faith, open to the unknown that I might encounter. As I grew to love El Salvador and her people, their struggles also became a part of my heart. For me, the decision to leave El Salvador by land through Mexico (the way most Salvadorans do), became a spiritual pilgrimage in the making.
The United Nations estimates that 700 Salvadorans leave their homes each day and begin traveling north, mainly to the Unites States, to search for jobs so they can support their families back in El Salvador. While CRS is working to improve economic conditions in El Salvador, poverty remains prevalent and wealth inequality between the richest and poorest is increasing in the country. Many of the poor of this small Central American country struggle to provide for their families and lead their lives with dignity.
For many, migration becomes a necessity, and the phenomenon of increasing migration is a direct result of poverty. Nevertheless, with this mass migration comes serious repercussions for the people left behind. With so many Salvadorans leaving every single day, keeping track of citizens is tough work. Finding those who have died or disappeared in transit is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Meanwhile, there are children who are growing up without one or both of their parents. (more)