As a day of great significance for the Christian faith, Good Friday has always been a day of reflection for me, whether such musings have been entirely religious or not. I have used a portion of every Good Friday since I can remember to contemplate life, the world, my place in it and whether I think I’m “measuring up” or not. I confess that the nearly universal conclusion I reach is “Not,” and then I spend the rest of my day wondering what to do about that state of affairs. (Apparently, not enough, since my answer tends to be the same annually.) But truly significant events are, in truth, rarely about me and this day has brought me face-to-face with a significant missive from Nicaragua that leaves me achingly sad. The note reads:
I want to tell you that we have been doing everything that can be done to recover the funds of the financing of the women´s group, so far I have been meeting with them and I know they feel very bad about not being able to pay, but it was not their will, it was something external like the [coffee] rust and antracnosis, all this has caused us serious problems… and we are making commitments with buyers, but this low yield makes us fall short, and this brings consequences. They sent us a direct message to either send them the coffee or return the money they forwarded, if we do not do so they are already threatening us with taking us to court. You know that I am the legal representative and I signed these contracts, so all this will fall on me; I am concerned because I had nothing to do with the [previous] bad administration and the [previous] debts. I do not know what to do. I know that these demands will hurt me and will throw away all the work that I have been doing honestly. I am reporting this to you now so that you are not surprised if this ends up happening, and I am looking for friendly hands to support me and not fall so low. I tell you that I am ready to sell what I have been able to obtain based on my [own]work and provide this money and not fall into the rumor mill for bad administration, that always comes as theft. This I tell you so that you might know how we are, also because of the confidence that you have offered. I hope in God that this gets resolved, but other hands have a lot of influence and it does not matter to them to knock anyone down that they do not like. Thousand pardons for taking some of your time,
The note is from the representative of a WPF partner, a fledgling organization of primarily women, a group which has struggled mightily to improve their economic and social circumstances, women who have worked honestly and with good intention. And while their first cycle of credit proved to be successful, their second cycle experienced difficulties, encountered in both the vagaries of nature and in the deceit of man. The repayment of their debt appears to be unlikely. Their resources to raise another crop are non-existent. The chain of debt- forged in the expectation of a good yield last year and by earlier, fraudulent representations by others- is weighty enough to strangle their credibility, their honor and their future. These women of good character and integrity, some of whom I have described and lauded here in previous posts, face an undeserved and uncompromising end to their efforts. But there is very little that WPF, or I, can do about it. So, on this Good Friday of contemplation and introspection, I am empty of either action or idea.
Maybe that is one of the lessons of a day such as this, that circumstances are not always subject to our control, that bad things do happen to good people, that justice is not a given nor even a frequent guest. That right- and the righteous- do not always triumph as they should. Sometimes, we simply don’t have the remedies at our disposal, no matter how good our intentions. And that within this reality we all have the responsibility to be more than we have been willing to be. All the pieces to this puzzle called human life on earth are here, among us, waiting for their proper placement. I need to work a lot harder to understand just exactly where I fit in, where we all do, or I’m destined to have a lot more of these uncomfortable Good Fridays….