Friday, May 15, 2009

LGU’s and Laryngitis

“Injustice and land disputes yield armed conflict and result in poverty and malnutrition,” said a municipal counselor in our peacebuilding class for local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines. It has been gratifying to see the lights come on in some participant’s eyes as they learn that conflict transformation offers an alternative between suppressing justice concerns and asserting justice violently.

The two and a half day training started the afternoon after I got off the longest plane ride of my life, 24 hours from Houston to Singapore via Moscow. Add the 4 hours to get from Harrisburg to Houston and the 4 hours from Singapore to Davao and that makes 32 hours flying time in the silver aluminum can.

That aside, I arrived in Davao City with no voice. On my layover in Singapore I conducted a seminar entitled “The Good News of Christ Confronts a World of Violence” for the students of the Bethany International University. One student came up afterward and thanked me saying “The church doesn’t talk much about this topic.” I wonder why.

Now, short on voice I had to rely on my mentor and co-facilitator Deng Giguiento (pictured). She has trained community person for years in Philippines and East Timor and knows how to improvise on the fly should one of her colleagues loose his voice. I am here in the Philippines early for Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) which starts the week of the 18 May. Stay tuned for more postings from MPI…

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