After a six hours drive West of Jakarta through the beautiful scenery of mountains and deep green rice fields, mixed with the trappings of urban growth, we reach Tasikmalayan, Another 30 minutes and we are in Manonjaya sub-district. We are close to Sumatra Island, and the recent earthquake there has taken its toll on its beautiful mosque. .
Something incredible happens in this land of strict Muslim religion. Lulu, a beautiful transgender person, is introducing the practices of the self assessment for reproductive health. Young people, men, women, local NGOs and health center staff listen attentively. They then engage in animated conversations about their own situation and the actions they will undertake to achieve their dream: their community able to deal with all aspects of reproductive health.
Lulu is at ease. The explanations flow easily, for she speaks from experience. The practice of the AIDS competence approach with her own community is changing her life and that of her community in Jakarta. Now she is happy to make her experience benefit this community.
What is happening? During this morning’s reflections, Ibu Enung said: “ This meeting is different. We are all equal. There is no difference between facilitators and participants. We are all together.” Ibu Nurhayati said:" Previously I could only think negatively about IDUs. During the SALT visit, I saw that the IDUs had the strengths to dream and to pursue their dreams. After I visited the IDUs during the SALT visit yesterday, I had to think how my husband and I are educating our two kids. We should learn from the experience of the IDUs and help them pursue their dreams as well.”
“SALT makes us appreciate strengths of everyone. It opens us up to the flow of positive energy” says Chandra at the end of the morning reflections.
“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” said the Sufi prophet Rumi.
SALT makes us touch that field and the travel is wonderful.