Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A story of Violence

Here is the blog of a friend of mine here in El Salvador. I am going to copy some text from her blog and also copy the link so that you can read it in more detail. If you can help, please do!


Dear Friends, Family, and Supporters,I send you my greetings to you from El Salvador. I am still here working as a long-term volunteer, teaching English, coordinating youth sports programs, and organizing around environmental issues. I want to thank you all for your generous donations and your emails. I am inspired to report that the children here are putting the donated sporting equipment to good use on a daily basis and everything is going well Sadly, my motive for writing today is not of a joyful nature. I feel compelled to share this experience because this time, the danger we all face on a daily basis has come close to home.Around 3:00 am on Saturday, August 5th, Esper was leaving her job at a factory just outside the city of San Salvador. She and two co-workers were attacked by a group of armed men. It was payday so Esper and her co-workers had their monthly salaries of $150 cash with them. The men physically threw the three young women to the ground, beat them, and stole their money. They raped them repeatedly, taking turns. After, the men drove away.All three victims are currently in the hospital, recovering from their physical injuries and receiving medication to prevent the development of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The anti-HIV medicine will cause them to be physically ill for the next few weeks and requires a proper diet which they could not afford on their current salary, let alone if the medication makes them too sick to return to work.My best friend Marina is Esper's sister. Marina is a full-time teacher during the week, and a night student at the University of El Salvador. She wants to take this semester off from her studies, so that she can work a second job to support Esper and her family through her recovery. If Marina stops studying this semester, she will delay getting her teaching certification, which in turn would get her fired from her teaching position, leaving her in a worse position than today.I can personally speak to how hard this entire family works to stay afloat financially, and to try to make a better life for themselves and their children. They are fighters and survivors, but this weekend’s violence has pushed them beyond their limits.It is not easy to hear stories like Esper's. There are a few things we can do to walk in solidarity with these women. First and foremost, we can send them our positive energy, and keep her and her coworkers in our thoughts and prayers.We can also ease their financial burden. Each woman lost a month’s salary, and may not be able to work while in recovery. My goal is to raise a minimum of $1,000, the equivalent of three months wages and medical costs for Esper’s family, and to give anything above that amount to the other two women who are also suffering. Please, consider committing to give $20 a month for the next three months to help out it would be the equivalent of giving up one movie night (no popcorn), or a week’s worth of Starbucks each month, and a wonderful way to contribute good karma to some very deserving people. I know that money is always tight, and I am as grateful for your positive energy, and for passing this email along to anyone you feel may want to participate, as I am for any donation you can make. I will continue to update you on Esper’s condition through my blog. You can donate by clicking on the link I put below. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, or even just to pass along good wishes to Esper.Thank you, with loveSally Hansensalstar17@hotmail.comPlease feel free to pass this along to your friends, family, schools, and places of worship.

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