Thursday, March 25, 2010

Simons March 2010 brief update

Summer is here! Ouch!
Its summer here in the Philippines, which means less rain and hotter! El Nino is affecting the Philippines this year, causing drought conditions, meaning 2 hour rolling power outages on a daily basis, as our main power source is a hydroelectric plant that doesn’t have enough water to run. If it’s at night, it can be fun eating by candlelight and telling stories, other times just plain hot, when we can’t run our fans in the heat of the day with steamy humidity and temperatures in the mid 90’s.

Crisscrossing Mindanao
We have had a busy month with Amy teaching a women’s health class at the maternity clinic as well as traveling with a team of Canadians that came to visit and assess Peacebuilders’ Community health work. They traveled 10 hours each way, visiting indigenous (tribal) and Muslim communities where Jeremy organized two of their stops. The first was a Peacebuilders sponsored coffee training among the Matigsalug tribe. The training pulled together different groups within the same tribe who have often been in conflict. The result of the training was that they began to develop a coffee council together to sell their coffee at fair trade prices and offer greater support to indigenous farmers.

Blessed are the Peacemakers
The second stop among the Talaandig indigenous people turned out to be a highlight. Jeremy presented to the tribal council the culmination of his work over the past year: a listening project of their traditional conflict resolution practices and indigenous cosmology. After the presentation, it suddenly rained, indicating, the leaders informed us, that the project was not only accepted by the community, but blessed in the spiritual realm as well. This is mutually significant because the Talaandig were appointed by their ancestors to be peacemakers among the more than 40 tribal communities of Mindanao. This has strengthened our relationship as fellow peace workers and provides a respected foundation for further engagement with them and surrounding communities.

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