I'm Alexandra and this is my hero

19 years old she is. She tells her story in broken Dutch among many, many tears.

My family, that is my mother, my sister and her two children. My hero is my baby Samuel Umana Alejandro. When I got the news that I was pregnant, I was happy. So was my boyfriend at first, but afterwards he changed his mind. He thought he was too young. I was sad, but my mother said, "God, you and I will take care of this baby. I've always been able to take care of the three of us, too. "

The first tests were good, until three weeks before delivery. Then the doctor said there were problems and it would be a C-section.  At the hospital they told me it wouldn't be necessary. Then it backfired.  After seven months and three weeks of pregnancy, the baby died. That was one year and five months ago now.

In El Salvador you have private hospitals for the rich. For the rest, there are long waits and surgeries are postponed, sometimes for years. I stayed in the hospital for three days. Without food. Everyone always just said, "You're the one whose baby died."

"Can I hold him?" I asked. "No, that's not possible ma'am, your baby has to stay here. We need him for research." Then my mother became angry. "Would you allow this?" she asked the doctor. Finally, the body was placed in a box and buried. "Look how many people loved the baby," my mother said comfortingly. A lot of people came by.  

But I didn't love anymore. I closed all the doors. My sister called me, "Alexandra." My sister has two children, Alex (2 years old) and the youngest she also named Alejandro (5 months). For a long time I still bought dresses for my baby. "Now you have to give the clothes away", my mother said and I did then. Now I go to a psychologist.

Meanwhile, the president of my country says that no one died during the epidemic in El Salvador, that everything is fine, but it's not true. The markets were closed and people were unemployed. The police were aggressive. If you are rich, you can live well in my country. You pay the police, then they don't look at you. 

I have been in Belgium for one year and three months.  My sister will live here for two years in October.  In Antwerp.  My mom also came to Belgium first, but it was too hard for her here: because of corona, the asylum center was closed and there was a lot of stress. She is now back in El Salvador. 

I work in Diksmuide as a cleaning assistant. The assistant Vanessa helps me to find better work. I need work because my mom is sick and the hospital is so expensive. "That's not your problem," they say here. "Your mom has to take care of herself, you have to think of yourself."

I can't. Since my mother is gone, I live with four people in one room and others think I should clean and cook for older people staying here. What are they thinking? 

My baby is no longer in pain or hungry. All my love goes to my baby Alejandro. I think about him every day.

Gloria Alexandra Escobar from El Salvador

Read all the stories from the expo: https://www.langemark-poelkapelle.be/en/this-is-me-and-this-is-my-hero