February 20, 2013
By Laura Marie Piotrowicz
Today was a comparatively slow day! Last night Elsa and I had a lovely light supper with the intention of an early night, and instead were debriefing and sharing ideas and critical analysis of our experiences until the restaurant closed at 10.30!! Despite the later bedtime, a good rest was enjoyed.
Our first meeting today was with IBON, a policy research group for the Philippines. We met with Jaz (who had attended the PAG meeting last week), who heads the Partnetship for Development in Education. Part of her job is to create resources that address social justice and human rights issues for use in schools here. Also attending the meeting was Execuive Director Sonny Africa. We shared a lot of ideas and information, some outside the box concepts so that IBON can continue and increase its effectiveness in providing carefully researched policy information for use by the grassroots movements that use it to effect positive change.
Then we all had lunch with the Asia Pacific Research Network, who are also engaged in critical analysis of justice issues, though this group has a broader geographical focus. There was much discussion about the benefits of solid research, the need to make the information more accessible to the general public, and the uses and limitations of social media as a communications tool.
Elsa and I then had some downtime- 2 hours when we had a chance to just take a breath. This really hasn’t happened much during our travels, we’ve been cramming in meetings at every opportunity (mealtimes, early mornings and late nights, in cars and vans, even in the airport both before and after security!) it was a lovely time to just BE in the midst of this DO schedule.
I read a book, Elsa took a nap.
We then could so something new- go out for supper and enjoy ourselves without being exhausted. We only did a little bit of debriefing and preparing for tomorrow’s meetings, But mostly we enjoyed each other’s company. And the relaxed atmosphere. And the food, of course! We both had our first halo-halo, which means mix-mix, and is a mix of flavors and traditions- Spanish flan, Chinese mung beans, US ice cream, Japanese shaved ice, Filipino fruit preserves-all in milk and topped with crispy rice. Definitely a tasty experience!
So now we’re getting ready for the busyness of tomorrow, packed again for another trek. But enjoying the gift of time to simply rest and enjoy and breathe. It’s nice to be granted the space to be humans BEing rather than always humans DOing. It’s nice to have a hint of sabbath rest so that we can be sure to keep our focus on our mission here, celebrating the love of God and the gift of partnership.