Sickness so normal we believe something is wrong when it is gone

Two things stood out for me at the Nica-night last Saturday as the project was presented. One was the anti-nepotism steps the local people had very wisely put in place in their organizing teams, and the other was a story that came out of what happened when the community first installed filters for their drinking water.

We were told that the community decided that if you volunteered to be on the committee to decide, for example, who got outhouses installed, that would automatically mean you were not eligible to get an outhouse while on the committee. Such wisdom! Such insight into how human nature can crumble into taking care of one’s self and one’s own first and losing track of public service. Our headlines have regular stories of people who we believe to be serving the public good who have started to take care of their own too much. Oh what we could learn from these wise Nicaraguans!

But even more striking to this Transitional Minister, who is always seeing illustrations of how his work works in the daily life of communities, is the story of what happened when the water filters were first put in, with the effect that the cause of the diarrhea that affected everyone constantly was taken out of the water. Having diarrhea was ‘normal.’ When the filters were put in, the digestive disorder began to stop. And the people began to believe they were becoming ill, as a normal part of life was gone!

Oh boy! Is that ever an illustration of Transitional work! Every community has sickness that to them is normal. It is then comfortable to them. When changes are brought which counteract the sickness, the community gets troubled and anxious, because things are not as they used to be. It takes time (and trust that God or good is at work) to recognize that the illness or dysfunction being removed is actually healthy. For a time it just feels like things are not right.

Think about. Just think about it. It is a wonderful example.

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