True to our promise: six months after the family resettled in a safer part of their country, we found Judith, the 12 year-old girl we vowed to help. She was so excited to be talking with us, and said she wanted to pursue a real education; we are currently looking into a boarding school and intend to help secure a place there so that she can go to school and follow her dreams of helping her country one day.
This is the story of the Garcias Family, who had lived in their close-knit El Salvador mountain village for several generations. Eduardo and Rosa Garcia were teachers, who had two small children and cared for their aging parents. To augment their salaries, they planted vegetables, raised cows and chickens, and grew cashews.
They valued family, hard work, and community – just like you.
One day, an unnamed company began cutting down trees in the rainforest surrounding their village. Soon, the forest animals showed up in the village, looking for food and seeking refuge. Then, the nearby lake dried up, depriving the Garcias of water for their garden and orchard.
When villagers protested the company’s actions, they were warned to back off. While coming home one day, Eduardo and his brother were shot and his brother was killed. The Garcias learned that the entire family had been targeted to silence complaints, so Eduardo moved his family to San Salvador, the country’s largest city. There, they joined others whose lives had been ruined by the destruction of the rainforest – before long, another attempt was made on Eduardo’s life.
Rosa fled with their new baby to the United States, where she was legally admitted under a law that protected women with young children whose lives were in danger. Eduardo planned to follow with the other children as soon as they were allowed. However, the law changed shortly after Rosa arrived, which left Eduardo and their two children stranded on the Mexican side of the border.
However, due to your generosity, we were able to locate Rosa, connect the family by video, and help them find a pro bono lawyer who is working to legally reunite the family in Miami, where they can build a new life. Maria, the oldest child and her brothers got some new clothes, vitamins, and even a new pair of shoes! This is the Garcias’ story. It is painful, long, and still uncertain, but we will be there to help them stay safe and healthy until some kind of resolution can be found. One family ⏤ one story at a time.
From Linda: I was visiting the Garcias when Lulu called their mother in the U.S. and put the family on FaceTime. We were in the car, eating ice cream cones, when the kids saw their mother’s face for the first time in a year. Each child clamored to talk, crying and laughing with joy. Sadly, within a few weeks, the mother reported that her friends who were going before the judges for asylum hearings were sometimes deported back the same day, back to the countries they had run from. She said she would be hunted and killed if she were to return to El Salvador, since she could identify those who were poaching the trees and destroying the rainforest. Soon after that call, her phone was disconnected, and she disappeared. In despair, her husband took his remaining money and bought bus tickets back to El Salvador, telling me he couldn’t manage the care of four kids with no job and the frequent moves from place to place. He would return to his family and hoped that God would protect him and his children from harm. We agreed to send him a small monthly stipend for three months to help him get resettled. Lulu took the family to the bus station, giving them extra money for food and some comfort items. This family of five all gathered around her, weeping with gratitude at the care they had received here. The 12-year-old girl said she would find a way to get an education and one day do for others what we had done for them. It is a story of struggle and strength.