I’ve always understood the privilege of carrying a US passport, esp during the last 11 years based in West Africa. But experiencing such kindness and hospitality upon entering El Salvador for my IWMF fellowship was a very sobering experience esp since thousands of Central American families are being ripped apart trying to enter my birth country seeking safety and a better life. This is not the same country my parents left Korea for. This is not the same country I left over a decade ago to try to understand the world around me.
As reporting commenced, and my understanding of the complexities of El Salvador (and its relationship to the US) grew, reasons for fleeing such a warm and welcoming country became clear. The violence that people are attempting to flee is woven so deep into the society that escape is their only chance for survival.