Alejandra’s story: from El Salvador to Newcastle
I met Care4Calais through Sally, she has been great and Care4Calais has helped me so much. Sometimes its really lonely here as it’s so different from my home, but Sally has helped me get to college and learn English, find a GP and they got me food from the food bank when we had nothing at the hotel.
I went to the GP last week and it is close to the beach in the North East so I decided to go. It was so beautiful, and even though it was spring, it was so cold and windy. The beach was just about empty, a few dog walkers and some older boys playing football. It was wild, the sea dark and stormy but it made me feel free for a few minutes.
It made me think of the beautiful warm beaches of my home, El Salvador, and my mind wandered home for a while. It took me back to my my youth when I dressed up for the festivals and sang and danced with all the people.
i thought about my favourite festival, ‘El Salvador del Mundo’, that happens on August the 6th each year. I was living in San Salvador at the time, the best place to see the festival. The festival celebrates the patron saint, Divino Salvador del Mundo (Divine Saviour of the World).
It’s a festival full of processions, floats, dancers and food. It’s loud and bright and colourful and I loved it. I would go with my mum and dad and later my friends. My mum would do my hair specially, put it in a long plait down the side of my neck and I would wear a big traditional dress for the dances. I miss our traditions and my language so much.
The food was one of the best parts of the festival. You could buy it from street stalls and restaurants all over the city. I especially liked pupusas, made from corn and beans and cheese, like a round flatbread. It’s hard to make here as I can’t find the right corn in Newcastle. I also miss the chips; they are the same as here but so different and they are decorated with tomato sauce. We call them Yucca Frita – it’s the edible root of the cassava, a popular root vegetable. It’s used in the same way potatoes are prepared: mashed, boiled, and fried.
But most of all, I miss my mum and dad and my friends. You’ve made me remember my home and its beautiful places, they are good memories and its okay to have them but they make me feel sad about what I have lost, but I’m also hopeful about my future here, where I can be safe.
Maybe tomorrow, I will tell you why I had to leave El Salvador if you would like to hear that?
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