The corn strike started small and grew progressively each day to be larger and more crippling to the local economy (henceforth, more effective). It was not until the rice farmers joined with the corn farmers in solidarity that the strike really became large enough to draw the attention of the federal government in Lima. At that point, a representative from the Peruvian equivalent of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) flew in to Tarapoto for negotiations with the leaders of the strike. All of that took approximately 15 days to take place.
During that time, the local farmers here which are part of farming cooperatives or unions, each had to go and spend all day and night at the local strike location (which were highway blockades) or pay steep fines equivalent to more than one day's wages. Very few farmers could afford to pay the fine, so most all went. During this strike, the local economy came grinding to a halt. All of the workers were not earning wages and there is no strike pay or a strike fund here. The blockade led to shortages in everything from gasoline, diesel and propane, to food staples and medical supplies.
All of this was taking place at the same time when the schools were all starting up after their summer break. Therefore, very few children were prepared for school on the first day with their uniforms and school supplies. We helped out many families thanks to the support of our generous benefactors on Team Carmody. We also had to cross the blockades at various times to perform ministries at which time we stopped to pray with the striking farmers and to sing praise and worship songs with them to raise their spirits. These opportunities really helped us to bond with them and to feel their pain and suffering. Please pray that the negotiated resolution of the situation was a fair and just one and that no future strikes would be necessary.
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