On June 6, I wrote about Balbir Mathur and Jesus de Santiago distributing the Manuel Rodriguez guitars to the libraries in the Books for Life – Nicaragua program. Well, there is a second part to that story. When Balbir was preparing to leave Nicaragua his host presented him a very large package of Nicaraguan coffee, one that would take one entire suitcase to carry.
“It is solidarity!” … said Chico Castro with a broad smile, and shook his fist emphatically. “It is not from me. It is from all of us!”
“Please share this coffee with all those who helped provide these guitars. As they enjoy this coffee, they will feel our thanks.
“Tell them, Gracias, amigo. Come and have the next cup of coffee with us in Nicaragua, and we shall sing together.””
This was their response to the wonderful generosity that had brought 200 guitars to the Books for Life Nicaragua libraries. They wanted to give a gift from their hearts and their homes to the wonderful people who had donated to the guitar project. It was their gift of solidarity to people who care.
Upon returning Balbir figured out how to distribute the coffee to the individuals who donated. A local company, The Spice Merchant, ground the coffee and volunteers packaged it and tied Gracias Amigo cards containing the story to the packages. The Board of Directors for Trees for Life was scheduled to meet the following week and a large number of donors were invited to a special lunch afterward. Local donors unable to attend would have their coffee hand delivered by Trees for Life staff and the balance would be mailed. You might think that would be the end of the process but that would not even be close.
The emails, phone and personal responses that we have received over a small package of “solidarity” Nicaraguan coffee have been joyous and heartwarming. We have had responses from Spain to China, from Nicaragua to the US. Locally, the packages have produced joyous hearts, an impromptu guitar session (with one of the guitars) and true tears of joy. We beleave Margaret Mead was right, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.