Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We've got the land

Elizabeth and Enlace in El Salvador

Since the Enlace group recently spent time in El Salvador, we thought it would be the perfect time to highlight another MCC worker, Elizabeth Scambler, who has been working with MCC in El Salvador since 2010. It has been great having Elizabeth as a part of our team and has allowed us to coordinate more group visits to El Salvador, specifically to La Linea in San Martin. Both the Enlace and RJC groups were able to visit San Martin this year and hope to continue strengthening that relationship in the future.

San Martin, and specifically La Linea, is a very difficult place to live and work. Elizabeth "works alongside two different organizations which partner with MCC. One is an NGO based out of San Salvador called ANADES. The other partner is a church, IBCD, situated in a marginalized community (La Linea) about 45 minutes from the capital. With each partner, Elizabeth works alongside their disaster recovery and resettlement projects which are responses to the damage caused by Hurricane Ida in November of 2009." As Elizabeth and her co-worker, Yesenia describe it, "Like much of El Salvador, social violence is an everyday reality. La Linea is associated with a particular gang which exists throughout the country. The main economic activities among community members are working in the informal economy (such as people who work selling in the market or in construction), working in factories, and agriculture. Unemployment in El Salvador, and in particular La Linea, is also a reality. On November 9, 2009, Hurricane Ida hit La Linea. Excessive rainfall created landslides which destroyed houses, buried others, and left other homes hanging off the edge of dangerous cliffs. Since La Linea was no longer inhabitable, everyone had to relocate to a temporary shelter closer to the Panamerican highway. 350 families live in the 5 sectors which continue to collectively refer to themselves as “La Linea.” Since people are illegally squatting, they run the risk of being kicked off this land at any time."

However recently, IBCD and the work they are doing in La Linea has shown some signs of progress; a plot of land where 250 families will relocate has been purchased. Please visit Elizabeth's personal blog to read more about this story and the work she is doing in El Salvador; The end of 30 years of displacement

Enlace's visit to El Salvador included visiting La Linea and supporting the work IBCD is doing there, as well as connecting with the many youth that live in the community; a highlight of the time for sure. The group also visited the area of Perquin and learned about the armed conflict in El Salvador and the church's role during that time. If you are interested in learning more about El Salvador's history, we highly recommend watching Voces Inocentes.

Elizabeth, on left, with past SALTer Katelyn Shank

Enlace, with Elizabeth and Yesenia, waiting out the rain in Perquin


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