San Salvador, El Salvador

“The world is infested and there is fear, my family has been five dead in a short time and it has been hard to lose them like this,” he says. Rachel Barrera, a Salvadoran who saw his two parents and three brothers die in less than two months, infected with covid-19.

Barrera, 28, has become a symbol of the painful fight against the pandemic in El Salvador, where almost 400 people have died from the pandemic.

Accompanied by her sister Luz and sister-in-law Rebeca, she received AFP at her home in the rural community of Ojo de Agua, in the town of Santiago Nonualco, 45 km east of San Salvador.

The disease, which in The Savior has infected about 14,000 people, caught many of the 23 family members Barrera, including children and pregnant women, who live in three houses surrounded by fruit trees, sugar cane and basic grains.

The first to die on May 28 was the father of the family, Felix. Barrera, 80 years old. Two days later his wife Lucía Barrera (69), mother of the 11 family members, died. Barrera Jiménez.

The death of the parents was followed by that of the sons Jesús, a 52-year-old male nurse, Joaquín Antonio, 42, and Carlos Humberto, 40.

The parents passed away at home, while all three brothers they were hospitalized, where they were transferred when presenting symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain and loss of smell, taste and appetite.

“When I started hearing about this virus, I never thought that something like this would happen in my family,” said Raquel, who is not amazed at how they have had to endure permanent mourning.

– The ambulance was late –

“God helped us give us strength because this pain is great, losing one person hurts, and now losing five … I don’t know where we got so much strength from,” exclaimed Rebeca Valle, who lost her husband Joaquín Antonio Barrera. .

Rebeca survived with her five children José David (21), Joel Antonio (15), Rebeca Abigail (14), Herson Samuel (9) and Rut Elizabeth (4).

The widow commented that the only inheritance her husband Joaquín Antonio left them was the makeshift house in which they live, as well as a cart and two oxen.

“I do not know how I am going to do it, I have to try to get my children ahead. For me, giving them the study is difficult for me, but even if I am washing someone else I must get them ahead,” Rebeca said with resignation and tears.

– “Not even tortillas wanted to sell us” –

“What we suffered here was discrimination of all people, “said Raquel. He said that they were responsible for the health of the area who were in charge of” announcing “throughout the neighborhood that” the family was infected “, with which” not even tortillas wanted to sell us ” .

“They (medical personnel) when they came to order the quarantine They had the obligation to help us and they did not help us, they left us locked up and it was until he (Jesus) died that they helped us do five tests at the mayor’s office. Among all of us we had to choose who did it, we were all at risk, “said Raquel.

Two of the five tests were positive.

In the absence of medication, the remaining members of the family have overcome the disease “with ginger tea, lemon, chamomile, and purple onion liquefied with honey.”

“With that (infusion) we remove the sore throat and chest,” Raquel explained.