By Lara Pickford-Gordon, firstname.lastname@example.org
We encounter the divinity in our brothers and sisters through their acts of generosity and kindness; it can come in different guises. Just ask Cornelius Campbell, a farmer from Paramin.
In mid-April, Campbell was expecting a sum of money from someone to whom he sold 700 pounds of chive. It was a Friday morning, and he was thinking, “If I could get that money today, because I had to pay my sou sou, had to pay my loan, and then I had some workers working for me and I wanted to pay them on the Saturday.”
He was looking forward to the $4400 payment to close off these expenses for the month. Luckily, he saw the customer who presented him with payment in an envelope. “I said ‘thank God’,” Campbell said in an interview with Catholic News on May 16. He placed the envelope with some other bags and containers he had, believing it was well-secured.
Campbell was at the time in his jeep transporting several pounds of celery to the factory at La Fillette Road where processing and bottling of Mal’s Paramin seasoning and sauces were prepared for retail at groceries and supermarkets. While en route there were heavy winds. He recalled that the country was under a yellow alert.
The bags with containers were placed on top of his jeep and he had crocus bags with celery to take into the factory. He had made the first trip inside when his money got blown away. Campbell only put the story together after a young man from the community, Ernest Constantine was walking by and saw what happened.
“A breeze end up blowing down that bag without me even knowing and it blow down the bag down at the side of the road.” His jeep was parked on a ten-foot incline.
“Somehow or the other the bag end up opening, the envelope fell out, the containers fall over the roadside and money start to fly out, $4400.”
Constantine had called out to him but got no response, so he ran inside the building alerting him about the money. “I say ‘Lord Father’ and I pick up a speed and run one time and to my surprise I saw money spread all over the place,” Campbell related. “We end up picking up all that money and not a $100 was missing so what I did, I give him a little change.”
Campbell said he was almost in tears, “not because of the money but because of the individual”. He knew Constantine from the community. The young man grew up with eight of 14 siblings. His family members made ends meet doing odd jobs.
“A lot of people might have judged them, as they do little odd jobs, like garden work…but thank God because of life and the Men’s Ministry, I don’t look down on people, judge them or anything like that”, he said.
Campbell added, “I know for myself praying a lot, might have touched him a little, his heart whatever. I am not saying he don’t have his ways in him also.”
While money could not compare to loss of a life, Campbell knew money was hard to come by. He said he was touched by what Constantine did because he could have used the money to be “king for that day”.
Campbell and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Paramin Men’s Ministry knew Constantine from their outreach ministry, but the relationship has grown since. The young man accompanied the ministry when they went May 14 to Las Cuevas to support the parish. “I am hoping to let him work with me as time goes on,” Campbell said.
Liston Nicholas, leader of the Ministry said, “He did not hide the money for himself, he called Riey (Campbell), he helped Riey retrieve the money note by note so to us, we in the men’s ministry, that is what we are about, working with young men in the community, trying to let them know you are valuable, you are important and regardless of what other people say to you God say you are important.”