“I will continue my journey but the people who make up SARJFON, the people who give their money and the people who work there, will always be in my prayers.”

Belinda’s husband worked hard in Honduras as a public bus driver. He adored his wife and his two children. One day he was approached by the local cartel to transport drugs for them. He refused. Soon after, Belinda found herself trying to push her children behind her and hide them as the “muscle” for the cartel attacked her husband, secured him and threw him to the back of a ratty truck. Knowing the cartel wouldn’t stop at killing her husband, Belinda packed a quick bag and began a long journey in an attempt to keep her children alive.

She and her children walked for miles, begged for rides and were lucky enough to board a train for part of their journey to the United States. She knew she wouldn’t be safe from the cartel anywhere but inside the borders of the U.S.

While sleeping in a park in Mexico, the little money Belinda had to feed her children was stolen from her. As she tells her story, she praises the shaved ice stand owner who allowed her to work the next day to earn money to feed her children – praising his kind spirit for allowing her to work all day for the $5.00 received.

The day the bridge to the United States was in sight, Belinda remembers wiping tears from her eyes. She had made it. She went to Boarder Patrol to request asylum. She had no doubt after talking to her children and hearing the terror in their voices when they explained what happened to their father, they would be granted an asylum-hearing. Instead, Belinda was given a number and told to wait in Mexico. She waited and waited and waited. The cartels and gangs in this area were strong. Women and children were raped daily, others kidnapped, others killed. She couldn’t risk the lives of her children by waiting longer – she had come so far, she couldn’t give up now.

She sat each day looking at the river that separated her family from safety. She was trying to figure out a way to get to the other side. She knew the current was too strong to swim with her children. She needed a raft, but didn’t have one. Then, one day she found old tires tossed on the side of the road. The tires would float! She could use them as a raft.

Belinda knew she had to take the chance. It was worth the risk if her children’s nightmares would stop and they would feel the peace and protection that only the United States could provide. That night, exhausted, Belinda hauled the tires she found on the roadside down to the quickly moving river. She said a prayer and placed her children in the tires and then climbed in herself. Belinda prayed for their safety and for the tires to float to the other side of the river and not downstream.

They made it! The family made it to a border shelter and found hope thanks to the help of SARJFON supporters whose donations allowed Belinda and her children to receive free legal help. The SARJFON legal team has filed the application for asylum with the courts and Belinda and her children are praying they are given the chance to work hard and make the people here proud to call them neighbors.