May 11, 2011
"I'm so embarrased to have missed the meeting," he said.
It was 104 degrees and Jesus Guido had ridden all the way from Boca de Cantero on a borrowed bicycle to be part of the leadership meeting. But the bicycle was old and he'd had TWO flat tires along the way, so he had to stop every ten minutes and pump more air into the tires. It meant he was two hours late... and the meeting was over. He'd also missed the small lunch that JustHope had provided for the meeting... so it would be dinner time before he would eat that day. But he was smiling broadly, and stopped to ask about Noe's mother's health before he faced the prospect of turning around and riding the six miles back home in the heat... stopping again every ten minutes to put air in the battered tires.
"How long did it take you to get here?" I asked.
"About four hours," he said grinning, "because of the tires. Usually, I can ride in one hour."
"And if you had walked?" I asked.
"Three hours," he said.
These Sector Leaders and several others make this long walk at least once a week to participate in the Leadership Team meetings in Chacraseca -- in the heat and dust from Jan - June, then in the rain and mud from June - Dec. They've been elected to represent their area, and they take the responsibility seriously, devoting one full day each week to the four hour meeting and the long walk there and back. A few have a horse they can ride, and 2 or 3 have bicycles. Some, like Jesus Guido, can occasionally borrow a bike from a neighbor, but most walk.
As part of our commitment to the empowerment of local leadership, JustHope has committed to purchase 10 bicycles for the 10 leaders who must walk the furthest to attend the meetings. Bicycles hardy enough to withstand the weather and the terrible roads in Chacraseca are about $100 each. Please help us provide a bike for a leader...