By Farid Estrada; Edited by Leanna Cappiello
Marina* and her daughter Natalie* live in the slums of Mexico. They do not have a luxurious life, but they feel safer than in their home in El Salvador.
Back in her home country, Marina was accustomed to violence. Her ex-boyfriend, the father of her firstborn son, was a part of a dangerous gang. Soon he found out that Marina was dating someone new, and was pregnant with his child. Marina feared the worst from her ex, as he was capable of dangerous things. Her intuition was spot on, and soon after she discovered that her boyfriend had been killed by her ex-boyfriend and his gang.
Feeling vulnerable and unsafe in her own country, Marina didn’t know what to do. “I hid for months,” Marina says, recalling the memory, “but one morning I got a phone call from another gang member who said to me that they knew where I was hiding. ’You are next’, they told me.”
Frightened, five months pregnant and with a toddler in hand, Marina fled her home in El Salvador. Desperate to find someone to help her, she phoned her mother, who lives in the United States, and told her what had happened. She arranged for Marina to be picked up by car at the border and paid the driver $6,000 USD to bring her there safely.
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The road was long and hard. The driver took Marina only as far as the border. She knew she had no choice but to take a plane across. “I got off the plane and was looking for the exit when a policemen grabbed me and asked for my papers,” Marina recalls.
They were about to deport her back to El Salvador when Marina told her story and received asylum. She spent three months there. “I was sad and scared,” Marina says with tears in her eyes.
Once she was released, Marina sought refuge in a slum where she now resides with her son and little Natalie.
“I have been living [here] for five years now and even though my mother still wants me to cross [the border], I prefer to live here in the slums than being in my own country.”
After Marina’s struggle with dangerous threats, attempted migration and single motherhood, she was so happy to learn that her little daughter is being sponsored through World Vision. This also means she is legible to participate in workshops and activities to prepare her for independent life. Thanks to sponsors like you, Natalie will have hope for her future.
*Names changed to protect identity