Friday, November 3, 2006

Nandor Lim reports on this workshop in October

TIME to Change: WHY ME? WHY NOW?

When I arrived at the Clark International Airport, I realised that this is an airbase also for the US air force in the Philippines. Now, part of the airport has been converted into a low cost airport especially for budget airlines.

Spending 4 hours on board a ‘no frills’ service, I dreamt about having a good meal when I arrived in the Philippines. However, it wasn’t what I expected. I thought I could get some breakfast but unfortunately I waited at immigration for about an hour and spent another hour waiting for a coach to metro Manila. Finally I only had breakfast around 5pm after I met Star PARULAN (STAR) and Renato MALAY (TATO) from the local team, also Oufang and Shoufeng from the Taiwan team. I felt great when I met everyone and was served a hot meal.

As a team, IofC Philippines is a group full of enthusiasm. Three of us represented the youth initiatives Action in Asia (AinA) to support and help facilitate a leadership training workshop; as well as a trip to Pagadian City (Midanao Island) to meet the major and discuss the possibility of holding APYC in 2007.

My purpose in going was to support Jenny PADUA and STAR to run a leadership training workshop to engage new people.

We stayed at a guest house owned by Pagadian City Government in Pasay City, a place which also hosted Action for Life 3 early this July.

Our first night was spent with the local team; we were invited to a dinner at an art studio in Makati City. Most of the MRA/IofC team like Atek (who was part of Song of Asia), Alice DIAS, Choi, and Efren were at the welcoming dinner. It was a lovely and enjoyable evening.

On 20th, Oufang, Shoufeng and I decided to go shopping in order to get some food to cook for lunch and dinner. Walking in the Mall of Asia, a huge mall located close to the seaside, I found that Pilipinos are so romantic and their lifestyle so relaxed. On our way back to the guest house, I discovered a shop called “Book for LESS”; three of us were stuck in it after we discovered a lot of quality second hand books with reasonable prices. There we spent about 3000 pesos and the shopkeeper told us that every 200 pesos spent came with a cup of hot coffee or chocolate. We could have had 15 but we managed to drink only 6 cups. These drinks kept us going for 4 hours planning the coming workshop.

Before the day ended, we finally met with Jenny and Efren, I wondered how much scarifies they had to make for all of this especially after work, and being in the traffic jam, spending hours on the road. However, we were able to go to bed before midnight and had to be ready before 6 in the morning.

The leadership training workshop was from date 21 -23 OCT 2006.

Main features of the training workshop:
1. Altogether we had 18 (including the facilitators) in this workshop, most of them were from tertiary institutions and others were from different professionals such as banker, engineer, teacher, nurse, governor, etc.

2. The Heart of Transformation: An introductory section on the Essentials of MRA-Initiatives of Change was shared by the AinA team. The first section was facilitated by Shoufeng, he introduced the team to the 4 steps of Initiatives of Change and Efren showed them the Banana Skit, the main point of which was “Some one has to take action”. Jenny and I shared kicked off the first session by sharing our experiences on family reconciliation.

The second section was facilitated by Oufang who went through the initiatives from different countries. Jenny and Star had a chance to share with the rest their vision and dream for the future, and the idea of organising APYC in Pagadian City in 2007.

3. Quiet time: Facilitated by Nandor every morning, a time for reflection and self-examination.

4. Workshops: The training also included the “sing out”, “act out” and “speak out” workshops; participants were expected to choose one of the workshops, and prepare for a presentation on the last evening.

5. Family Group Sharing: The family group sharing used the “tree of life” as a structure for life story sharing. Participants were asked to draw a tree and use the different parts of the tree to describe their experience of family.

6. Love Thy Neighbour: A session on the environment was facilitated by Dr. Mat PALAYPAY who is the pioneer of environmental protection. Groups were encouraged to brain storm and come out with some solutions for protecting the environment.

7. Teambuilding: The last session was a teambuilding exercise. We had 6 of them in a group. Everyone had a role to play but each was made physically disabled in a different part of the body. All of them needed to accomplish a given task together.

8. Letter of Commitment: Each wrote a letter to themselves which will receive a month later. This was to be reminded of the commitment made to themselves, it was good to encourage participants to think ahead and really take action for their decisions.

I didn’t go to Pagadian City to investigate possible venues for APYC 2007, Oufang and Shoufeng will report on the trip to the city.

My personal growth on this trip:

“The abused children are alone with their suffering, not only within the family, but also within themselves. They cannot share their pain with anyone. They cannot create a place in their own soul where they could cry their heart out.”
– Alice MILLER

a) Reflecting on my life experiences with regards family reconciliation. I remembered something that had been previously buried, something was very important to me, that of being persecuted: part of my self-esteem had been damaged in a sexually and physically abusive experience. A memory popped up in my mind. I saw myself crying and walking on the street without any clothes on after being scolded and hit by mum. I must help my inner-self to grow and let go the feeling of being a victim, otherwise I can not improve the relationship between Weny and I; because Weny also comes from a dysfunctional family.

b) Listening to my inner voice, I sought/looked for guidance. I realised my 5 year plan is going into its fourth year, and I needed to spend more time to listen for what is the next step. My time in the Philippines has strengthened my understanding of inner calling and being ready to follow it.

Do your part and put first things first. You cannot draw water from a well unless you get a bucket and let it down into the well, fill it with water and then draw it up. You have to do something; you have to make the effort and do your part. Standing at the top of the well looking at the water will not draw it up. So with this spiritual life: standing around watching others find their oneness with ME will not do it for you. Every soul has to do its own inner seeking and finding. - ’Opening Doors Within’, Eileen Caddy.

Nandor Lim