22 Jul The “diakonia” of the church / Argentina
OUR DEAR IMMIGRANTS, MAINLY FROM VENEZUELA, ARE GOING THROUGH A DREADFUL TIME DURING QUARANTINE!
Yes, the very small amount of money that they have been able to earn by their work, is all used up because of the Covid19 pandemic; and many of them have been left without work because of being quarantined. They are experiencing hunger and some of them are families with small children.
We ourselves have been left with very little to do as we are staying at home. One of the few activities that we do have is the reception of food from the local government with which to fill boxes with provisions so that the families are able to have something to eat from time to time, once their tiny pantry is empty. A truck arrives with packets of rice, flour, sugar, noodles, beans, chickpeas, and, above all, many bags of lentils; biscuits, jam, tins etc. We bring everything into the house and store it in one of our big rooms, where a Sister spends some mornings preparing bags of basic food stuffs; a little more or a little less depending on the number of members in each family. Once a box is full, it is ticketed with a name and address, and it is taken in the afternoon, by a taxi driver friend of ours who delivers between 5 and 10 boxes each time.
The taxi driver tells us how the recipients react when they open the door on hearing the bell ring and see what he has brought: with surprise, joy, and relief written all over their faces. Some of them write brief messages to us:
“I received the box a little while ago. Many thanks. My children are delighted with the chocolates. Everything is a great help.” “I have just received the food with love. Many thanks. Infinite blessings on you!! God bless you all for the love you have shown, may God bless you all for your kindness.
“Hi Sister, yes, yes. The taxi just went past here a few minutes ago and left us some bags with a lot of bread among other things…I truly do not know how to thank you”. “Yes Sister, I have just received a box of groceries and a bag of vegetables…You and your group are so kind, may God bless you “Many thanks. Our hope is a free Venezuela,with God’s help.”
“Hi Sister. God bless you. Do you need someone to work for you? I want to work to pay for our financial needs. But in this situation of quarantine it is difficult to find work. I thank you for the box of food that you have sent me once again. If you hear about any work anywhere, I would be very grateful. I need to work and O am prepared to do anything at all. “Thank you. God bless you Sister, and the wonderful work you are doing. I would like to be able to work and to help others. “Well done, both you and your colleagues. Let me know if you need any hel.” “Hi, many thanks. This was our lunch and it was delicious. This was a great blessing for us and we would like to go one day to give you a big hug and ton thank you for everything”.
These short messages give us consolation.
But above all, it is something positive, this service, “diaconia”, that the Church is developing very strongly at this time, one of her three missions: the Sacraments, Teaching or Kerigma, and Service.