When you have choices
*CLICK ON PICTURE ON LEFT TO LAUNCH MULTIMEDIA PROJECTBy Amy Rymer
Ana Maria sends half of her salary to El Salvador each month to provide for her family. After nearly three years in the U.S., Ana Maria doesn’t have savings, but now that she has paid off the debt for her travel to the U.S., she is planning for the future–with multiple options. After her husband died in a car accident ten years ago, Ana Maria took over his business in one of San Salvador’s two biggest markets, called San Jacinto.
Five years later, two supermarkets were built around the market. After trying to compete with their lower prices for two and a half years, Ana Maria couldn’t provide for her family any longer and decided to move to the United States for work.
Ana Maria’s travel to the U.S. not only cost herself monetarily, but it also affected her family. Her sister, Milagro, who raises her son Carlos, gave her own land as collateral for the loan that paid for Ana Maria to go to the U.S.
Ana Maria had to pay back a total of $12,000 to a coyote in El Salvador who loaned her the money. The average cost for someone to go to the U.S. illegally from El Salvador is $2,000 – $8,000*. Ana Maria paid more because when she realized she was in a scam, she had to convince multiple coyotes to take her the rest of the way. A trip that can last as short as a few days took Ana Maria two months.
*UNDP El Salvador Human Development Report 2005