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  • Jane Juffer

"The last day I went fishing"

Updated: Oct 22


Note from Jane: Elisabeth sent me this letter shortly after I visited her at Batavia. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the last time we visited in person because the Covid pandemic put an end to all visits. After this, however, we began to talk via a video chat option accessed via the company "gettingout.com," which charges 21 cents a minute plus a service fee. In this letter, Elisabeth describes the things she misses most about her home, her family, and her country.


February 15, 2020



Hi! I hope I get to see you soon. Thank you so much for your visit. I was so emotional because we got to see each other again. I loved seeing your face again. I am so happy that you asked me about my mother's birthday, about my sister who is going to make me an aunt again. I am very emotional for my sister and my brother-in-law because he is the best brother-in-law I have, because he takes care of my sister and my nieces and nephews.


Thank you for telling me a little about my papa--that is to say, your husband. Forgive me, but because you are all part of my family, I will treat you as such. Many people in El Salvador like his team Liverpool. I have some football jerseys at home in El Salvador of the teams I like--Real Madrid, Arsenal, Inter Milan, Manchester City, and Spain. Thanks also for sending me some photos of all of you so I can get to know your husband, your children, and even your dog. I adore pets!


I also want to thank you for telling me about your friend, who might be able to help me with the appeal process. I hope to get to meet her soon. Oh, I also wanted to say, please forgive me for talking too fast. I know you asked me to speak slowly, but I always forget. You know, I would love to stay with all of you when I get out of here. We could do so many fun things together as a family.


Maybe some day you can go to El Salvador and get to know my family--my mother, my sister, my nieces and nephews, and also try my favorite foods. I really miss the way my mother cooks my favorite food. Sometimes I say to her, Mom, I really have a taste for your chicken soup, and she will say to me, go and kill a chicken and I will make the soup for you. And I might say, yes, but I think I want the chicken grilled in charcoal, slowly, and my mama makes it like this for me. My second favorite food is fried fish, with rice, salad, and my ice cold coca cola. Also, I like to fish, and my mama and my sister make pupusas with fish, shrimp, and for this, I like to go fishing because I love pupusas made of fish. The best ones are those that are fried or those that are used to make soup.


I remember the last time I went fishing. I went with my sisters, my friend, my sister-in-law, and some other friends. We went to the river at 7 p.m. and returned around 10. This was a very fun day because we did so many different things. The river is really close to my house and we used the lights from our cell phones to light our way. We walked along the street, talking and laughing. When we arrived at the river, one of my friends said let's go further down and do some fishing. I said yes, that's a good idea. But it was so dark we could not see my friend walking, we could only hear him saying "Follow me" and then he said "here's an easy way down." But it was so dark, we couldn't see that we were only half a meter from the river, and my friend fell in, cell phone and all! I laughed so hard. Well, all of us laughed, but we retrieved the cell phone from the water. After that, I descended very carefully because I didn't want to get wet, and then my sisters and friends came down as well, laughing the whole way. I got out my fishing net and began to catch many shrimp, which made me very happy, because I love shrimp! When we came to a place where there used to be a bridge, I threw my net and it moved very strongly, and I said, I think I caught a big fish! My friend said, Wait, and climbed up the bank to help me pull it out. Others came to help as well, and we pulled the net out, but it was caught on something, and so to get it unstuck, I waded in a little bit, but I was very scared because I hate snakes and I thought: what if it's a big snake that got caught in the net? And at that moment, I fell into the water and everyone started laughing at me! But I managed to pull out the net and I had actually caught a lot of big shrimp, little fish, and one fish that is called a guabina, that is very large. So it was worth it to get wet! This was the last day that I went fishing. I miss so many things about my home. God willing, I will one ay get to see my family and eat all the food I love.


I have told my family about you and all that you are doing for me, and they are very happy and reassured to know that I have someone here who is helping me. They said to tell you that you are like a second mother to me, and my mother said, but I am the first mother to you! I laughed and said, don't be jealous, mama, you are my mother and nothing it going to change that! You are also now part of my family!


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