25 pounds of flour
5 pounds of sugar
5 pounds of corn flour
3 pounds of cheese
2 dozen eggs
5 sticks of margarine
A big bottle of soy oil, max pan, onions, tomatoes, rice, beans and “anything else you want to get.”
A total of more than 60 pounds of stuff to carry up the mountain (more than an hour’s walk from the road.)
Our stay in Comunidad del Volcan was good, but it was getting complicated.
We arrived as volunteers, ready to give our thoughts and labor, but the families seemed to only care about our money. They wanted food mainly, which is understandable and we were happy to help. The problem was we weren’t loaded with cash and the food we bought always ended up fried in one way or another.
We were drowning in oil.
The meals were completely indigestible to the untrained stomach.
Life on top of the mountain became one uncomfortable day after another. The views were beautiful, the people were kind, but we were always trying to avoid the topic of money. They thought we were rich. Sure, in their eyes we were, but not at all in the places we came from.
It was the best way to test our ideals.
Sure, we could have good intentions, but how far were we really willing to go to help the poor? What could we really contribute?
Money didn’t seem like the right answer.
The experience forced us to consider a million issues at once.
Was buying food really helping? What would happen after we left? Would they just rely on someone else?
How can these people become self-sufficient?
Every night Ania and I asked ourselves these questions. It was endless. Our brains hurt more than our stomachs.
Comunidad del Volcan, Nicaragua
© Diego Cupolo 2011