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John has big dreams — Part 8

FeaturesJohn has big dreams — Part 8

CLINTON CANUL LUNA

  On the drive back home, while John was occupied familiarizing himself with the portfolio of his assigned tasks, he did not realize that the driver had accelerated until he took a break off the papers and saw the speed meter reading 80 miles per hour.

 John: “Tony, you are going very fast. I have always told you that you should drive at the maximum 50 mph, and when we pass through a village or town you go down to 15 mph. I do not want you to have an accident and crash into a Christian.”

 Tony – “Yes, Sir. Pardon me.”

He slowed down and continued. Hours later, John receives a call from a lady named Susan who was a taco vendor and back in the days when John was in the underworld, he would run errands for her by buying tortillas.

 Susan: John, how are you? I’m Susan.”

 John:   “Hello, Ms. Susan. How are you? How are you?”

 Susan: “Okay, thanks. I’m calling to invite you. It’s my granddaughter’s birthday today, and I made a very tasty escabeche just the way you like it with local chicken, and I invite you to come here to the house for dinner.”

John:  “That’s very kind of you, Ma’am, I’ll pass, I’ll be there.”

 They hung up and continued their journey. Around 7:00 p.m., John arrived at Susan’s house. They parked the truck in the yard, got out, and Susan came out excitedly to greet them affectionately and invited them to come into the house.  Once there, she ushered them into the dining room and they took a seat. She served both John and Tony and sat down at the table as well.

Susan:  “John, aside from the invitation I gave you, I wanted to talk to you.”

John:  Yes, Ma’am, tell me. I’m all ears.”

 Susan: “Look, I heard you had a meeting with the alcoholic people at Rainbow Beach.”

 John:   “Yes, it is indeed so.”

 Susan:  “And how was the meeting?”

John:   “Well, it was fine. I’m just going to have another one. There’s a little problem that, well, I don’t know how I can help those people to get out of that mess they’re in.”

 Susan: “It seems to me that it is very difficult. Since I don’t know if there is a rehab centre here where they could be placed in order to help them so they can care for themselves. You know that they can only do so if that person wants.”

 John: “Yes, you are right, Ms. Susan.”

 Susan: “Look, where I sell, you know, where I have my taco stand, there are always about 8-10 drunks there, insulting and a little violent in their way of speaking and in any carelessness they steal because they don’t have a job, they don’t have money and they want to continue drinking. I found out that each little bottle of those things they drink costs $5. On two occasions I had to call the police to have them removed. They go away, but a couple days later they come right back.”

 John: “Yes, you’re right. It’s a social problem, and I don’t think the government has funds to open some sort of rehabilitation center to help these people.”

 Susan: “I think you’re right. But can you imagine how much money the company earns?”

 John:  “Well, I can’t imagine.”

 Susan:  “About how many people went to your meeting?”

 John:  “About 70 people, I think.”

 Susan: “Seems, it wasn’t all of them. I mean, while you had your meeting, those 10 were at my taco stand.”

 John:  “Yes, well, we don’t know how many there are.”

 Susan: “Can you imagine in all of Belize, how many there are of those?”

 John: “I wouldn’t know. I don’t think they’ve done any head counts or recorded how many of those people there are.”

 Susan: “It’s not just them. There are also people who are economically stable who buy it. They are people with money. I don’t know what that thing contains that is so addictive. Can you imagine, John, that there were 50,000 people in the country of Belize that took that thing and each consumed 3 daily. How much money would that be per day?”

 John: “At least, it must be about $750,000.”

 Susan: “And per month?”

John:   “It would be approximately $22,500,000.”

Susan:  “And how much does the government earn in taxes?”

 John: “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never realized they charge tax for it. I have no idea. Well, it’s a big deal.”

 Susan: “Yes, it is a great business for the company and I doubt that they will stop producing that article that these people like so much.”

 John: “You are right.”

 Susan: “And I don’t know if the company gives anything in exchange for that damage that is being caused not only to some people but also to the country.”

 John: “Yes, I think you are right, Ma’am.”

 So, they continued talking. They finished eating; he thanked the lady for the tasty food and left. They hit the road again. After that conversation, John kept thinking about what the lady had told him, and said to himself, “I think I’m going to talk to the boss. Let’s see what advice he gives me. Possibly something can be done.”  Well, on one of those days that John had to return to the office, he took the opportunity to talk with his boss, who replied as follows:

 Boss:  “John, if you’re right, it’s a social problem, but I’m going to advise you to see Ms. Eleonor and tell her. Possibly something can be done. It’s a matter of her getting the information or seeing what she comes up with. The social problems of this country are her responsibility.”

 John thanked him and left. A few days after, he went to visit the lady during one of his free moments and told her about the issue. Ms. Eleanor attentively listened to his concerns, then replied:

Ms. Eleanor: “Mr. John, I understand your concerns, but I must inform you that there is no program to deal with such an issue as alcoholism. I wish you luck in your endeavors, but I cannot do anything about it. The only way a program can be set is if orders from the highest heads of government are issued.”

John: “Thank you, Ms. Eleanor, for taking the time out to receive me.”

John exited the office with his head lowered, devastated, sad, for he did not know how to help the people.

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