Friday, January 14, 2011

Living Poor by Moritz Thomsen, Page 139

I had always been aware of the jealousies in the town, but now I began to see that I had underestimated the power to order the live of the people. It began to get through to me. Ramon Arcos, drunk, buttonholed me on the street. He wanted ten sucres to get drunker and when I said "No," he said I was a bad man who helped only the rich like Ramon Prado and Alexandro. "Rich?" I cried. "They're the poorest people in town." But, of course, it wasn't true anymore. Ramon was about to get his hundredth chicken, and Alexandro was up to seventy. A year ago they had been among the poorest people; now they were about to be the riches. There was real dissatisfaction in Rio Verde about the job I was doing, and every day I heard reports of my favoritism. Rumors reached me that a couple of old wise guys who knew all about the Peace Corps were telling everyone that I was making money off the people, that the chickens I sold should be gifts, and that the loans I was making did not have to be repaid. It was part of my job to give people money, they said.

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