HOPE Stories of 2009

i will welcome 2009  with  five stories in progress.  i will do it by series. the gift of inspiration comes wrapped up in five narratives which ed and i find edifying.

first is the story of  balay mindanao . the story of  the courageous women and men, from XXs to Belle , AiAi,  Kaloy, Ayi, Stanley,Felix  &  more persons i will name sometime who  are working to bring peace to Mindanao.  Ed and I  visited them last december 8-11. they have been all over the towns where heavy fighting have been going on for decades. AiAi told me that she and the team  still have to visit the Lumad areas on dec.22-23 and that they cannot go on holidays because the peace negotiations are vital . “You have been to places that Ed and I only imagine ” i told AiAi. ” It must be challenging to be in places where people are open to peace negotiations and succeed in helping them.”

the peace negotiations are not just between the MNLF,MILF,NPA and the govt. It covers a wider range of combatants, from the lumad communities to the NPAs and various rebel groups. The Balay Mindanao team have developed   strategies toengage both Lumad groups and rebel groups to open up. When i listen to Ayi, Kaloy,Felix & Stanley share their peace vision and experiences , i am reminded of our comrades  in the 70’s. we were all fresh from college and we wanted to take  the long road to revolution. our dream of a united country and serving our people with fervour is still alive but we have taken education as our strategic path. “Strategy is Choice ” ed explained to the Balay Minadanao family. Choosing to work on participatory local governance is a choice that they chose and believe  is integral to peace. When people claim their birthright to be heard , to choose the path to change, peace is possible. that is the lesson women like XX, Belle, AiAi, Juliet,Melody and many more advocates in BMFI are sharing. they make  ed andi feel good and honored to be in their circle.

Peace in mindanao.  it is possible. With the people like Kaloy, Ayi, XX, Belle, AiAi and many more. i will pray for all of them. rebels, fighters, negotiators,peacekeepers.

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