‘Our number one concern was the safety of our children’. Although they had a successful marketing and event business back in El Salvador, they were constantly having to contend with gang extortion activities. ‘We had to leave to escape criminal gang violence. It became too unsafe’. When they arrived in Dilbeek, they immediately set about learning Dutch and French. Now they both work as salaried employees. They also do voluntary work. Rocio teaches Spanish in the Westrand arts centre, Alexander works as a volunteer at a local food bank. ‘I’m not yet officially a Belgian, but I’m starting to feel more and more Belgian’, says Rocio.
That is what Rocio Macal and Alexander Lopez must have thought when they decided to leave El Salvador six years ago.