Monday, June 22, 2009

what friends are for

Abbot Placid the is one of the most virtuous and wonderful men I have ever met. Hence, when he gives me advice I pay close attention. He is a humble, brilliant monk at the Belmont Abbey Monastery. One time during my Peace Corps service he accompanied an alternative spring break trip from Belmont Abbey College. The students funded and built a bank for the savings co-op: COMPASEMUCE in Los Frios.

I expressed my worry about this one Dominican guy who always gave me dirty looks and wouldn't shake my hand or look me in the eye. In Dominican culture, this is beyond passive aggression, this is out right aggressive hateful behavior. He simply said, "Byron, if everyone is your friend what do you stand for? Some people will not like you because of some of the things you do, regardless if they are good things."

As the "Chicken Incident" continues, I have lost "friends"; Antonio has made enemies*. The neighbor who I've been dealing with for the last 2 years has strong family ties with people who have political power. Those people still say hi to me. They don't even greet Antonio any more, and haven't for almost a year, since the last chicken poisoning. I have no intention to slander said neighbor, but only to relate the current events on the farm.

I have a pretty good network in that region of the DR. So I called some one who might know the Fical - Regional Mayor because the Local Mayor is family of the said neighbor and is not upholding the law. Bingo, one phone call later, I have ear with the Fical now. He has put the situation on hold till I go down there. At least they won't touch Antonio, at least they are being reasonable. I still have a lawyer on call, I will still cross my fingers that nothing happens to my farm in retaliation.

As some of my bridges are tested and strengthened, others are marked for destruction. My solace comes from Abbot's words. It is natural to want to be everyone's friend, but it isn't natural to be everyone's friend.

*If I haven't made it clear, Antonio is one of the best friends I could ever have. He is willing to draw lines in the dirt and stand up for us.

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