Manuel can no longer see, but he can feel the instability in the world around him.
He lives in a rugged region along El Salvador's eastern shore, where earthquakes increasingly rattle his rusted tin home and cause deadly tsunamis that have destroyed entire towns. El Salvador is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, and whenever the earth shakes Manuel fears his village will be the next to collapse into the sea.
On top of that, changing weather patterns mean seasonal rains don't fall on hillside reservoirs anymore. Instead, a drought has plagued the region for over three years, and the lush, verdant gardens Manuel once knew exist only in his memory. The soil is dry and cracked, and any sporadic rains that do occur meet the hardened soil and cause deadly landslides that wash away crops and homes.
Surviving on the edge where disaster and poverty meet
Manuel feels powerless against these challenges, which strike from above and below. He used to provide for himself and his family as a fisherman, and he enjoyed the shimmer of the sun reflecting off the ocean. But since he lost his sight during an accident at sea, he has been wholly dependent on others to care for him.
And right now — because of coronavirus — this is harder than ever. Market shelves are empty in remote communities like Manuel's. There are shortages, as these hard-to-reach villages are now virtually cut off from the rest of the world.
"This community is like a ghost town," says Manuel's neighbor Jacqueline. "We haven't received any type of help."
Families are running out of food, and there is no outside help other than the love — and gift — you send today.