It’s nearly 4 pm and I’d planned to work with Loyda for 30 minutes: making contact, following her in her movements, and trying to make eye contact. During the day we do this for alternative half hours with Loyda and Daniel, hoping to connect their world, to which they have retreated for years, to our world which was too threatening for them.
But there are people at the door, Nehemias and his mother. So I have to change my plans. I’ve known them for years and many years ago I had a lot of contact with them when emotionally things were not going so well for Nehemias. We’ve kept in touch ever since, and he always knew where to find me when I was on one of my regular visits to Juigalpa in the years I lived in the Netherlands, and he soon got to know when I moved back to Juigalpa last year.
Vegetables and fruit
Nehemias and his mother brought me a delicious paw paw. Nehemias, a sturdy fellow in his mid-thirties, earns his living by pushing his hand cart loaded with fruit and vegetables through the streets while loudly announcing that he’s got paw paws, pineapple, tomatoes and much more for sale. It’s heavy work, because Juigalpa is hilly, and its average temperatures throughout the year are around 30oC. His profit margins are small, but at the end of the day he earns enough for a humble living. In order to raise his profit, he travels to Managua once a fortnight to stock up on vegetables that are cheaper there.
We talk about the pros and cons of Nehemias’ plan to travel to Costa Rica where he would be able to earn more in a short time. The conversation turns to our Ruach home and they are interested to hear what I’m doing at the moment. I show them the sitting room where Judith has taken over my job with Loyda and Anielka is busy with Daniel. In the meantime I get a phone call from a lady who has seen our piñatas in a neighbourhood shop and would like to buy some. ‘Wow’, Nehemiah exclaims, ‘this is interesting!’
Then Nehemias asks whether I like ´enchiladas´, a folded tortilla with rice and meat inside made by a neighbor across the road. He leaves and a little later comes back with a bag that he hands to me. In Nica style I gratefully accept the bag, but do not look at what’s inside, because that is considered impolite. Nehemias and his mother are touched by the work that we do and promise that they will call round more often to see how they can contribute.
Sharing what you have got
When we say good bye Nehemias takes his purse from his pocket and gives me 100 cordoba, (the equivalent of 3,15 euro) that we can spend tomorrow on something for the residents of the home. What a majestic gesture! Not only because he had already given other things as well. Itfeels to me like the ‘widow’s penny’ in the Bible. This isgiving, not from an abundance, but from a big heart!
That feeling becomes even stronger when at dinner time we unpack the bag: four enchilladas and four tacos (= a folded tortilla with chicken): a feast for the six of us and for Eva who is visiting us. This is solidarity to the highest degree. Solidarity is derived from the Latin ‘solidum’ which the van Dale (the Dutch equivalent of the Webster dictionary) defines as: “awareness of togetherness and a willingness to carry its consequences’.
Astrid Delleman in collaboration with the Vivir Juntos foundation