Creating Hope Amid COVID-19

Creating a Better World

How Lylette Primell Russell and Georgie Trotter use their Buddhist practice to benefit their families and communities.

PHOTOS BY LYLETTE PRIMELL RUSSELL


by Lylette Primell Russell
Grenada District
Unit Women’s Leader
Nonpareil, Grenada

I run a 13-acre farm on the island of Grenada, making organic cocoa together with my husband, Kim. Living in the Caribbean, we are used to natural disasters, so when we heard about COVID-19, we started preparing right away.

We had to practice self-sufficiency to ensure the future of our island, which relies heavily on imports. Due to the pandemic, we were forced to temporarily close our chocolate factory. We transitioned to planting short crops, which we could pick in three months with the help of a young woman who worked in our factory.

Even before the shutdown in March, we bought lots of seeds and over 400 plants to share with local villagers, who know how to farm.

We are fortunate to have three springs and abundant resources on our farm, so it only felt natural to support our local village. We also began sharing bananas, plantains, mangos and eggs from our 25 hens.

Photos by Lylette Primell Russell

We encouraged our neighbors to come plant with us and for them to share their resources with other villagers, as well, to create hope. During this time, I have been able to unite with fellow members on a regular basis to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo together. Before I started chanting with others consistently, I felt scared, but now I am happy and confident that we will create a better world from this situation.

Gratitude for a Lifetime of Benefit

by Georgie Trotter
Central Missouri Chapter
Women’s Leader
Newburg, MO.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our family’s BBQ restaurant nearly shut down. I knew I could make it through, but I was concerned for my employees. I became especially troubled when we only had enough money to make one more payroll.

In my 45 years of Buddhist practice, I learned the importance of developing myself through the three ways of faith, practice and study, and ensuring the SGI-USA’s future through our May Commemorative Contribution activity. I’ve received so many benefits in the process, including being able to open our restaurant in 1999. This recent difficulty became my opportunity to demonstrate the power of my practice one more time. I redoubled my efforts for kosen-rufu by engaging in the A-B-C Campaign,[1]In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SGI-USA initiated the A-B-C Campaign: A: Abundant daimoku; B: Buddhist study; C: Connect life-to-life with members, guests and family (using the phone or video conferencing). and, as I made causes, I became confident in my victory.

On April 17, the bank informed us that our small business loan had been approved and would be funded immediately, which meant that we could keep our employees. One week later, I received another stimulus check that will go toward improving our restaurant.

I am confident that the protection I have received throughout my life is due to my Buddhist practice, and can see how this protection has also extended to my employees and my husband, Lewis. Last year, he made his first May Contribution and pledged to continue on an annual basis, even though he doesn’t practice Buddhism. To show my gratitude for a lifetime of benefit, I will continue to contribute wholeheartedly as I move into retirement, knowing there is no retirement age in faith and the SGI!

 

Notes   [ + ]

1. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SGI-USA initiated the A-B-C Campaign: A: Abundant daimoku; B: Buddhist study; C: Connect life-to-life with members, guests and family (using the phone or video conferencing).