Monday, August 8, 2011

It's Good to be Blessed!

Sometimes when things happen that we perceive to be bad, we often are so blinded by the negative aspects of the occurrence that we fail to enjoy the benefits of the event. For instance, the other day, we had an event take place at The Meeting Place Café, our ministry here in Cusco. We are forever fighting with the municipality about signage and what is allowed and what is not allowed. All the shop owners in our plaza have to contend with the municipality on a daily basis. Also, our plaza is riddled with street vendors who are not licensed to sell their wares. That rarely stops them. What happens is that the vendors have their paintings in portable leather cases that they can carry. For the rest of us, we gamble. We lean our white board signs on the outside by the entrance. It gives the potential customer a little bit of info about our business. It mentions that we have amazing waffles, organic coffee, free wifi, and that our profits go to support local projects. It is a vital part of our business.

And so, the municipalidad, armed with a number of foot soldiers, came running through the plaza tearing down all the unattached signs that were not in compliance with the flexible code in which the most intellectual man would struggle to understand.

They grab and run. Like thieves in the night…

As I entered this lovely game of cat and mouse, I chose to have 3 of these signs made. I knew the municipalidad would have their way with me, so I have additional signs to replace the ones that they take.

The crazy thing is, just this morning, a couple of local ladies poked into the café to tell me that my sign had been taken by the municipalidad. With a little bit of frustration, and no surprise, I smiled and told them I have more where that came from. They laughed, but I was serious. You see, the signs cost about 20 soles each, the equivalent of about 8 US dollars. It cost me 35 soles to get my sign back from the municipalidad.(that is mostly bribe money, so I am told). If I start paying to get my signs back, the problem will only get worse as I become a cash cow for the person who grabs the signs. So, my signs are considered disposable.

As I was licking my wounds and brewing on the fact that the municipalidad was faster than I , into the café walked a group of four people. They sat down and we proceeded to serve them a whopping breakfast consisting of piles of bananas and chocolate which were smothering their enormous Belgian waffles. While they were enjoying their calorie filled platters, they heard some commotion outside.

It was another attack from the municipalidad. Thank goodness this time they did not get my sign. The clients asked what was going on and I proceeded to tell them about the municipalidad taking our sign that morning. They laughed and began telling me their side of the story.

They were walking up the hill looking for a place to eat and they happened to see our sign in the back of the municipalidad truck. The little bit about the waffles caught their eyes and thus, they searched for The Meeting Place and quickly found us.

Shortly thereafter, we had another group of two join us as well. A similar story! They saw the police running with the sign towards the truck. They were able to read the name on the sign and decided that they were going to eat at a place without a sign. We were the one they chose.

When things happen, they happen! They are just events…We are the ones that choose to make them good or bad. So, a total of 6 customers, $50 of sales, loss of a $8 sign, and a great story to tell! What a wonderful thing to have our sign taken. It’s good to be blessed!

No comments: