Thursday Nov 26, 2009
As I write this I can hear the roosters communicating from across the village. I hear dogs cheering each other on as they welcome in the new morning and young children laughing as they walk to school. The air smells crisp with a slight sent of pine. These are all characteristics of Kin-iway, Besao. Francisco and I have been blessed with yet another great adventure here in the Cordillera Mountain Range of the Philippines.
We are currently visiting the hometown of our dear friend and co-worker Bernice See. She has re-defined what it means to be a good hostess and has really made an effort to make us feel at home. Yesterday we toured the town, visiting her childhood companions and family members who welcomed us with open arms. It gives me a sense of contentment to know that there are still places in the world where new comers are not seen as strangers rather as new friends.
Since arriving to the Philippines last Wednesday we have not encountered one unfriendly face, which cannot always be said about North America. They have a special term here called, Tulongak Sika, which means, if someone is need of help you are obliged to help them. In fact, when the typhoon hit the small town of Kayen, neighbors from near and far villages immediately made their way to give a helping hand.
Last Monday we had the chance to go visit the village of Kayen and the local Priest described how uplifting it was to see the community come together without the assistance of the government or relief group. Instead it was the community that bonded together through this tragedy and provided help for their fellow peers.
As for our digital social networking training, it is going amazing. The youth are really enjoying themselves and can truly see the benefits social networking can bring to their communities. In fact, they have already begun to use their sites as a platform for discussing human rights.
We are working with Indigenous communities here and it is amazing to see how similar the communities are to our First Nations communities of North America. For example, they also believe in honoring our ancestors and remembering everything has a spirit. We both believe that we never stand-alone, we always have our ancestors and our family to come standing with us.
So far one of my favorite parts of the Philippines is the kindness they show to their animals. Ever since I was a little girl I have had a deep compassion for animals and have always recognized their little spirits as my little relatives, who deserve the same equal and kind treatment as all human beings. Over the summer when Franco and I were in Venezuela I saw a documentary on the horrible treatment that happens in the slaughterhouses of North America. They force farm animals into small stalls and treat them as a commodity rather than a spirit that deserves as much respect as them. For a few months I was not able to eat meat but thanks to my step-mom I have found you can buy free range organic meat that does not support animal abuse.
Anyway, here they treat all animals with great respect and give them the special treatment they deserve. The cute little piglets get to live a good life in their very own home and are prayed over before they are sacrificed for a special feast. Westerners should really look to the Indigenous peoples of Philippines on how to properly care for their animals.
We will continue to train the youth for the next five days and are very excited to see the results!!!!
With Great Respect,