Venezuela: solidarity as a response to the crisis


20160912-aThe news reaching us from Venezuela is not at all comforting. Furthermore, the Latin American Country is not only exhausted but also divided.

In this framework, the Focolare community is making every effort to create reconcilement and solidarity, sharing all they have.

The community of Colinas de Guacamaya (Valencia), after asking themselves in what way they could face this time of social, political and economic crisis that is reaching its peak, has responded by doubling their commitment to putting into practice the Gospel’s new commandment of mutual love, starting from the small daily gestures. One of them wrote: «Today, while I was buying 12 rolls of toilet paper at the supermarket, I thought of the many people here in Venezuela, who can find none on the shelves even if they had the money. I called a friend who was happy with the news and she asked me to get some for her. In turn she asked me if I needed anything, and so I told her that there was no more soap in the house. “Ah – she answered – I can give you some, and what’s more, you can take with you also some bananas which my son has just brought.” Once again I experienced concrete love, and when it circulates, that promise, “give and you shall be given,” which Jesus talked about, becomes a reality.» Those are simples acts, but also extreme ones, if we consider that for a stolen mango, people get to kill one another.

Another woman recounted: «At the start of the day I met someone who was looking for cooking oil, and since I had some, I shared it with her; after a while I met another person who needed an injection, and so I administered it with great care. Much later a woman came knocking: her little girl had a bad case of flu and needed the nebulizer which luckily I had, and which I had already lent to many people. While passing by a friend’s house, I took the opportunity to ask if she needed anything: “Yes, some detergent for the laundry,” she said. I ran home to get mine and halved it with her.  Since my husband works on the night shifts, in the evening some member of the community keeps me company. Having received an act of solidarity, I took the opportunity to prepare the dinner, knowing that there were those who did not have enough food.  Upon examining my day before falling asleep, I feel a great joy: we have lived for one another, and together helped each other to live the Gospel. Tomorrow will give me another opportunity to see in every person that passes me by, the special presence of God.»

The problems of the country are so great that these daily narrations may appear to be naive, or insignificant, like small drops in the ocean, and we all hope that solutions may come at the political, economic and social levels. Mother Theresa of Calcutta affirmed that “what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but if we fail to do this, the ocean would have a drop less.” It seems that this small community of Venezuela also has the same conviction.

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