Through Willem’s initiative, a group of people in the Pompe clinic for long-term prisoners in Zeeland, Netherlands, has become active in supporting our work in Juigalpa, by organizing various fund-raising campaigns. See News item December 2017.
Willem had already announced that he was planning a follow-up campaign at the beginning of 2018. And so he did: during the Lent period before Easter he is cooking a meal for inmates and staff of the clinic every Wednesday. People sign up for the meal and pay whatever they can afford with all profit in support of our work in Juigalpa.
Willem gets wide-ranging logistical and other support from volunteers, among them the priest of the Pompe clinic! He writes: “This evening was the 3rd Wednesday that Willem cooked for his project. Over 20 people sat down at one large table. This time the meal was served in real soup bowls with proper cutlery, unlike the plastic cutlery used before. Volunteers created a colourful festive atmosphere. People started flocking in with many having warm words and gestures for Willem. His pea soup was delicious. The atmosphere was relaxed with many jokes going back and forth. One inmate, who beforehand had asked whether he could sit by himself (of course he could!), went up to Willem after the meal and said: ‘Many thanks. It was delicious and very homely’. Isn’t that special? This inmate had sat apart, had not said a word, but obviously had been sensitive to the relaxed atmosphere.
“There were leftovers, so spontaneously it was proposed that these could be shared among people who would have liked to join the meal, but were not able to. And so it happened.
“After the meal people could sign up for a donation. One inmate for the third time gave the statuary minimum of 1 euro, but his contribution was greatly and gracefully received. It made me think of the story of the widow’s farthing in the bible.
“This was the third charity dinner. As we go along, something beautiful and positive is growing, but it also feels vulnerable and fragile. I cannot yet explain the latter, for now it is a feeling.
“When Willem and I walked with the serving trolley back to his wing, I saw a very happy Willem. He had not only given a lot of himself this evening, he also received a lot!
Together we can make a difference. That became, once again, crystal-clear on this occasion.