Chico is a handyman. He tackles many jobs many people in America will not because the job is below their station in life or because the pay is not enough. Some days, he works with James as a farmhand. Some weeks, he is very busy. Other weeks, he is not so busy. His needs are few.
Chico left his wife and grown children in Mexico five years ago to chase the American dream. He sends what money he can to support the farm the family works near Veracruz. Maybe this year he can return, maybe not. I ask no questions. His actions speak loudly. I know where his heart is, and it is a heart of gold.
The actions of my friend Chico often remind me of a quote we included in The Vitruvian Man’s Book of Hours.
“There are those who have little and give it all if. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.”Kahlil Gibran
It is the same lesson Jesus teaches when he preaches his story of the widow’s mite.
Yesterday, Dwight and I met with James and Chico at the farm. Dwight and I have seen neither of them for several weeks. Dwight and James engaged in a discussion regarding progress on the 2.5 acres James leases from the Desert Rose Institute. Chico approached me as Dwight and James discussed the situation.
“I remember,” he says, “when I was a child in Mexico and we had no food, a friend would give my father a few pennies. It was enough to buy some food. For the children in Haiti,” he says and gives me a Ziploc bag filled with coins. I graciously accepted his offering and thanked him. After working with my friends in Haiti for so many years I know how important every penny can be. Mrs. tVM counted the coins: 2 dollars; 29 quarters, 24 nickels; 86 dimes; and 87 pennies… $19.92.
We currently spend approximately 45¢ per meal. We feed approximately 150 children five days a week or approximately 3,375 meals per month. Chico’s bag of coins just fed 50 children.
The children of Haiti are thankful to have a friend like Chico. I am, too.