Theology in the Trenches: The Mango Truck

Kathleen Kjolhaug
Religion Columnist

It’s a slippery slope for the mango truck. Early morning dew grips ground but not wheels as they go round and round. To the right they spin. No traction can be found. Turning slightly with pedal to the medal it makes its way in a complete turnaround going downward, leaving behind a muddy trail like imprint upon the green grass.

Skirting around playground, kids, trees, and cement walkways, soon, the mango truck finds respite as it skids to a halt. Engine off now, it rests.

It has found a way to do that which it was made to do. It was made to hold things within the wooden paneled box on the back. Today, that which it holds is ripened fruit. Mangos to be precise, is what it holds. The fruit is lumped in disarray around the grounds. Yellows, reds, browns, blacks, gray, and orange in color they are. It’s a mixture of tones dotting the trenches in which they find themselves after having fallen. 

The fallen fruit has use. People pick it ripe-to-taste for sustenance. Birds and bugs digest the rest and if too far gone, the mangos provide a job for the mango picker upper who drives the truck.

Today it is full ... making the grounds upon which we trod tidier. The ebb and flow of the work comes to a close as darkness seals the deal on the day of mango picking. 

Early a.m. finds a new day dawning as I note the little wooden truck balancing upon cement walkways. No longer spinning its wheels, it is grounded. It has found footing upon cement and easily shifts gears with new projects in sight.

With mangos emptied and brooms aboard, it seeks its work. Three dogs patter behind as they too retire from their shift on the night watch. The daylight hours will see them caged. Weary, they find rest until evening comes once again.

And so goes the cycle at Hogar de Vida, Homes of Life, in Atenas, Costa Rica where not only mangos grow, but children. It’s a place where staff comes together for the children and a mango truck driver gather in the quiet of the day.

In this He speaks. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

In the stillness, He allows us to “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 34:8).  Amen.

(Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)