I just finished reading a tragic story in the news of the desperate measures taken by one family because they had nothing to eat. The family had no food left and so they decided their only recourse was to eat seed corn that had been distributed by the government. The problem was that the seed corn had been heavily treated with pesticides and it was not meant for human consumption. The family was desperate so they washed the corn thoroughly and used it to make tortillas. The whole family ended up in the hospital and two of the children, aged 10 and 12, died as a result. This is the link to the article in Spanish: http://www.laprensagrafica.com/el-salvador/social/130983-dos-fallecidos-por-ingerir-semilla-mejorada.html
I read a lot of sad stories on the Salvadoran news sites. Stories like a recent bus burning by teenage gang members that left 14 people dead, and each day chronicles the latest murders that have been committed. These stories hit me, they move me, and they discourage me but reading about this desperate family has left me especially saddened and sickened tonight.
Because this is different. This isn’t a story of gang violence, it’s a story of a family trying to survive.
How desperate would I get if I was listening to my children cry with nothing to eat? What if I wasn’t educated and didn’t realize the dangers of pesticides? Would I have taken these desperate measures because my family was hungry? Would I have ignored these warnings thinking that if I just cleaned the corn enough it would be okay? Maybe.
I feel like I am not doing enough because these two children died not far from where I live, and their deaths were brought on by a need for the most basic of necessities…food. I feel overwhelmed, I feel helpless, and I feel an urgency…so many people to reach, so many people in need.
The more time we spend in El Salvador, the more I am realizing that our work here has just begun.