Pandemic and goods in circulation

Stories of mutual aid from Central America. A communion of goods that generates hope

Because of the pandemic for Covid-19 the countries of Central and South America are going through a moment of great economic fragility: many jobs have stopped, as well as school, social relations, personal affections. In spite of everything, the communion of the goods of the various Focolare communities has never stopped – as Pope Francis asks towards those in difficulty, to generate a culture of fraternity day after day.

Carolina from Guatemala bears witness to this: “many people are losing their jobs. Among them is one of my cousins. In order to continue generating income he needed a laptop computer. So, without thinking about it, I decided to give him the one I use. He was very grateful to me and I was happy for helping him”.

Zarita, a Gen3 (boys from the hearths) from Oaxaca, Mexico, in a zoom meeting learned that the “extraordinary communion Covid-19” had begun. The proposal was to make a piggy bank using recyclable material. Her aunt says: “When Zarita helps me with something she says: ‘give me a coin for my piggy bank’. She also lost two teeth and sent the prize she received for her courage”.

In Mexico City, in one of the most marginalized areas, the Águilas Integral Social Centre has been carrying out its mission of promoting human rights and a culture of peace for over 30 years. Some of the Focolare community carries out assistance activities. With the lockdown, the Centre has had to close. Through the extraordinary communion of goods, however, it has continued to respond to the basic needs of the population of the neighbourhood, helping in particular 120 families and ensuring an orderly reopening of the facility in accordance with the hygienic and sanitary measures required by the authorities.

In Guatemala, on the other hand, the Fiore Educational Centre, linked to the Focolare Movement, has for years welcomed students of different origins, language and culture, especially from the poorest and most vulnerable groups. The economic crisis generated by COVID 19 has hit the already weak economy of the country very hard. Many families have been left without work and have had to cut education costs in order to have what they need to live.   This has forced the Educational Centre Fiore to close, thus putting at risk the education of many children from the most disadvantaged groups. However, thanks to the extraordinary communion of goods, both local and global, it has been possible to intervene to start a requalification project that will allow the reopening of the school. The Gen4 (children from the hearths) from all over the world will also donate to the Flower Centre the offerings collected from the action “They have evicted Jesus“.

Moving to Honduras, Javier writes: “Cristina, my neighbour works in a public school but it is now closed. Her husband instead works as a private security agent in a shopping centre, closed for Covid. They can’t pay their rent and bills and have a 13-year-old son. I put myself in their shoes and it is really distressing”. Javier has involved them in small jobs in the neighbourhood and is constantly taking an interest in their situation, without ever failing to provide them with food.

And Luis, from Costa Rica says: “some farmers from San Vito, 100 km from Buenos Aires, have donated their harvest to their community affected by the pandemic. Learning this experience, motivated by the great act of love of these people, I immediately organized the pineapple donation at the private company where I work. In response, some of these farmers gave us some of their vegetable, rice and corn seeds, thus being able to continue this experience, which has become a chain. Twelve officials of this company, in their spare time, sowed these seeds so that the harvested products would also be delivered to this area. Given the availability of pineapple that was available, when the European market (which buys them) was closed, we also dedicated ourselves to bartering”.

Lorenzo Russo

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