. Disclaimer: Views presented in this blog are those of Roger German. They do not represent the views or opinions of the U.S. Peace Corps or the Government of the United States.
I was talking to my friend Rudy today at Luky’s, his variety store and internet lab. He’s business smart, hardworking. He is always looking at ways to improve his business, and how to boost business in Benque Viejo in general. One of those men who, in the US, would be a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Optimists Club, Rotary Club, building up everyone for the benefit of all. You would know him in an instant in a coffee shop in rural Nebraska.
His Catholic faith is deep and sure, and as a matter of course attended each of the 9 days of Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, meeting at four in the morning for prayer before work. But I know that faith by how he lives his life and conducts his business.
He’s a member of the Mount Carmel Credit Union here in town, built on the savings and confidence of some 1,900 members, the same Credit Union now on life support. It seems in 2002 or 2003, $500,000 disappeared from the books. And a $700,000 loan made about the same time has never been repaid. Three members of the Board of Directors were charged with embezzlement, but the case was dropped. It’s a small credit union, and when $1.2 million goes missing, it leaves a big hole. I met another man who runs a small bar up on Riverside, who put 5 kids through school using this Credit Union, and he’s pretty frustrated with how it’s been handled and has been trying to get his money out. But not Rudy.
He’s working to be part of the solution, volunteering to be on the Advisory Committee that’s working on breathing life back into it. As the editor of the local newspaper El Chiclero, I questioned him on several occasions about the lost money, where it went, why the case was just “dropped.” But he wanted to talk about the future, about how to fix the problem. Benque is a small town. I am quite sure Rudy knows where most of the money went, who was involved. He knows where his efforts are best utilized, and digging around in that particular pile of manure would not come to any good right now. Instead, he’s working to restore faith in the Credit Union, the new management, better checks and balances. And faith is something he has.
I don’t know for sure, but I think Rudy is about my age, give or take a few years, but he reminds me of my Dad and my Grandpa German. All three men deeply interested in building community with little thought of personal gain. Separated by several borders and thousands of miles, but of a similar heart.