Archive for October 2008

birds fly,migrants move

October 25, 2008

i attended the INAFI conference in AIM yesterday. the focus was how microfinance, remittances and migrants’ philantrophy can be leveraged for development and  migrants become a positive force of development.  i found the day heavy with left brain activities – lecturers with their powerpoint presentation filling each minute ( no one used the guy kawasaki template of ZEN powerpoint  of 10 slides-20 minutes-30 fontsize ). no one  provided right brain stimulation until two women spoke , leila rispens-noel and amalia  garcia-medina.  leila is from oxfam-novib of netherlands while amalia is the governor of Zacatecas MEXICO. they both spoke with passion and gave a clearer picture of how governments and citizens regard migration. our  three delegates – chato basa, lorna  villamil and me – were excited with their inputs and we wish many women can meet these two feisty women.

amalia  garcia-medina is the governor of zacatecas which has a tres por uno policy – for every dollar a migrant remits for the community, the government at three levels, contributes a dollar each. the province of zacatecas has developed its social policy because the migrants are treated as key stakeholders in governance and development. amalia  explained that a citizen who wants to be elected in the legislative council must register his/her interest in representing women and migrants. there is a strong advocacy for migrants’ rights and respect for their generosity in zacatecas.  amalia said that the generosity of migrants is a proven track of citizenship. “you cannot rule over a migrant’s will to give. she gives out of her own free will as a citizen.”  amalia told the forum that zacatecas is building a museum of migrants.  she narrated the history of migration of mexicans to the USA “during the second world war, the US invited mexicans to work on the farms. they went to the US not as unwelcome workers. they were needed .” the museum’s entrance will be a mural of flying birds  with the aphorism “Birds fly…”

leila spoke about the  migrants programs that her agency Oxfam-Novib is funding. she gave a  progress report of all the projects in the different countries. she stressed that it is a challenging work because many migrants are women and their role is crucial in economic and social development. it seems that she has met many women  migrant leaders and had been inspired by amalia garcia-medina. i found her persona very enriching.

there were many more women to talk with in the forum and i spent the whole afternoon meeting old friends from the netherlands, the habagat delegation. i didnt have time to meet the handsome mexican delegates but noted that their lectures, especially dr.  manuel orozco’s, are documented and will soon be in digital forms.

lorna and i went home after the last panel of lecturers feeling that our day had been productive. i thought of my siblings who are in the US, i thought of my cousins who have been remitting their earnings to their families. i whispered a prayer for all of them, so they may fly and live well, remembering the many years they worked  to provide a better life for all.


Ka-looban,our expanding healing community

October 4, 2008

today, i walked half a kilometer to get breakfast for ed and ayen.ayen has been reviewing for her chemistry exam and needed a good meal. our brains need a lot of protein and so i promised to get her enough food for her brain. as i walked to the the next village  i saw all the litter of friday night. urban housing sites are called villages but we live in inner city sites and walking is not as pleasant as walking in green valleys or mountain trails. i suddenly remembered what meth jimenez told ed and i last night , she had been taking photographs of  human colonies under bridges and one bridge alone had 250 people living in hanging cardboard huts. i can see them in my mind like human bats living literally upside down and out.

so i walk more and become mindful of kalooban – an expanded sense of self, inclusive of everyone. i see two mothers with their children taking some bread, dirty from sleeping rough. then as i came near my favorite acacia tree, i saw three young half naked men sleeping, cuddled up to the tree roots.they must have been drinking, to be so deep into sleep when everyone around them is busy making  their way to earn. i look at the tricycle drivers making tunganga, who obviously will have to wait later for passengers since many are walking nowadays rather then pay P18 pesos. here in matalino street, everyone struggles for a place, the homeless and the hopeful who are looking for jobs as baristas, waiters, reflexologists and security guards.. this street is teeming with small business and you can smell, hear and see a variety of walkers..  i am glad i can expand my sense of kalooban. this is what walking is all about.

i reflect on  another meaning of kalooban. ed and i called on a community to gather to heal oca  francisco last night. i had been praying for a week and i did what i could to make oca my healee. i realized that oca could be healed by a community, not just by a battery of medical procedures but by arousing, mobilizing and organizing a collective resolution to get well.  it worked and oca made that resolve to heal and work come january 2009.  ” that is the way to heal” i told ed ” when you affirm your health is your priority and you declare it to a community who loves you.” oca  thanked everyone for coming to the healing event and he told me that he was waiting for me to do my babaylan act. he thought i would go into some trance dancing to heal him. ” hoy oca ,  my act is performing tasks to raise money and i dont go into trance dancing,” i laughed and help him board the van so he can go home with pancho lara.”

the people i am referring to as a healing community whose kalooban is one with oca  is in ed’s blog .  i will thank those who planned and organized the fundraising with me :  ed, pancho lara, alex soto, deng tan and june rodriguez. they did what they volunteered to do and i will pray they remain in good health always. i also want to thank elf’s new assistant leah whose first task was to help me run the auction. she must have been exhausted because i was always giving her running orders to keep collecting and recording the money from everyone. a silent auction is a lot of work when you have more than 25 items for sale and a hundred people are bidding around three tables. i told leah that once we put the items for auction, we have to tag the winners  within the appointed time, collect the payments and wrap the items with a thank you bookmark. we collected around 120k and will collect more from those who had to bid via sms. that 120 k is a good start. i issued a call for a hundred people to give P5000 each, in kind or cash because we need 880k more to get oca on his workdesk by january. i trust kalooban will reign in the expanding community to heal oca. amen.

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