“We were told to flee all the time because the troops were coming. We had a man watching over near Victoria; whenever he saw the troops coming a bomb would explode. When we saw the explosion we had to flee.
“My son would always cry before we fled, whenever he heard the warning bombs he would start crying. I think the trauma started very young.
“There was a massacre very near here. So we had to flee to Honduras, but we came back when the war was still happening.
“There was a time when we had to drop belly down because the troops came and fired rifles until they thought everyone was dead; then they left. A lot of people survived this attack. Only two houses were damaged because bombs fell through their roofs. Even though the troops in Victoria said that everyone was dead, they still kept coming back and we would have to get belly down for another attack.
“One day we had come back to see if the attacks had ended and we found everyone dead except we found one old man who the troops had not killed, thankfully. The troops came back almost every day to attack again. Sometimes we would just hold ourselves against the door and pray to God that we wouldn’t get killed, that today wasn’t our day. We stayed in various houses including neighbors houses.
“This was all before we moved to Honduras. The troops checked everyday. One day the soldiers found my daughter and me. The soldiers were covered in ammunition, and my daughter and I were interrogated, which was part of the reason we had to flee.
“For example, a young, nice girl had no boyfriend. She was an all around good person. The soldiers asked her: would you rather die or fool around with us? She answered that she would rather die any day so they shot her right there. They were merciless. They even shot old men and women. They shot anyone.
“The day the guards came, we had to leave. It was unbearable. We had to live in fear everyday. Thankfully my son was not there the day the guards came; he was hiding and praying. That is when we fled to Honduras.
“My grandchildren were born in Honduras. Thank goodness because if they had been born before we fled, who knows if they could’ve made it alive.
“It was a group of Americans, including a priest, who carried us to Honduras and bought a plot of land for our refugee camp. The Americans lived with us there in solidarity
“One time the Honduran and Salvadoran troops came together and took all the men down by the river. They came back with scratches. The refugee camp had many tents, but that night we all got into one tent so that we could all be together with each other because we were all supporting one another. We thanked God that nothing had happened that night.
“When we were crossing the river to Honduras, rows of soldiers were coming across the river and I thought: this is exactly what I am fleeing from; why are they here? My son, who was later killed, was only fifteen, and the troops messed with him so much. Someone finally said: Why are you messing with him? He’s only a young boy. It was during this time that my daughter was raped.
“My son was killed after we got back from Honduras because the men were called to join the military . He was killed in combat.
“There is a radio station that plays testimonials. I was listening when someone asked me why I still listen since the war is over. I responded that I will never stop listening because the war will be with me until I die because I suffered so much.
“When we got back from Honduras, there were helicopters and soldiers all around. We were still living in fear, but the community leaders who brought us back gave us our house. That was all we got. There were women who buried five or six children. My son enlisted in the FMLN and was killed during a massacre.
“A lot of youth from this generation aren’t here; they were born in Honduras. The youth from the generation before were killed. I think that raising children to be good people is important so this never happens again.
“I don’t want anyone to ever imagine this because I suffered for nine years in the war. It is by the grace of God that we are still here. These stories are only what I remember.”