Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nicaragua: not enough

I just found out that the reason the families didn´t receive groceries on Friday, and why there was no school lunch for 6 days, is because Chacocente was scraping the bottom of the donations that keep it afloat. It just makes me want to go home, get a job, and eat only peanut butter and tuna fish to be able to afford to send all kinds of money back here.

On the other hand, I´ve discovered how important self-care is. The Bible says that if we sell all we have and give it to the poor, but have not love, we are nothing. And the Bible says, love your neighbor AS YOURSELF.

So I am planning to eat tuna fish, peanut butter, and also go out to the movies and for ice cream... and send as much as possible back to Chacocente.

Folks have been raising money for my kids and I´ve been telling them, we can buy chapter books, we can buy legos; but now I´m going to say, send it to general funds and they´ll use it to buy food. Some of my kids live far enough from the school that there isn´t time for them to walk home during the one-hour lunch period, eat lunch, and walk back in time for school. So they just go hungry. Or they buy a bag of chips, which costs one cordoba.

I biked and walked the bike and pulled the bike through the mud on the way from Chacocente to the highway today. The rain ran down my face and felt so appropriate. Everything was so beautiful, green and grey and rich dark earth. New tender plants are thriving in the winter storms, Nicaraguans are repainting their internet cafes and buying refrigerators. Benjamin bought me peanut M&Ms, and one of my students was absent on Monday because there was no food in the house.

It just does not compute.

I don´t have answers, but I truly do feel amidst my grief, anger, frustration, and disquiet, the peace that passes understanding. God´s presence is a real mystery. Which is to say that in my life, God´s presence is REAL. And it is mysterious.


David Reese said...

This feels related:

At the hospital I periodically run into/ hear about situations where all you can do is think:

'how many things had to fail for this awful thing to happen? How many agencies dropped the ball, how many churches didn't respond to the cries of the oppressed, how many people looked the other way- how did this kid with down's syndrome almost die of starvation? how is this pregnant woman's best option to return to her abusive husband?

Not enough.

And part of my answer is about the God that I meet in moments of despair and utter emptiness. But another part of my answer is that the systems that are supposed to help are broken, and we should tear them down and build better ones. Or transform the existing ones. I don't care.

'we need new eyes for seeing, new hands for holding on,'

and new systems for a chance to hope for enough.

David Reese said...

Here's a fragment from the poem 'stepping westward' by Denise Leverov:

'...If I bear burdens

they begin to be remembered
as gifts, goods, a basket

of bread that hurts
my shoulders but closes me

in fragrance. I can
eat as I go.