Just like usual, the meeting was starting by explored hopes, concern and expectations. Mine are:
 Always has a chance to learn, it’s personal. I believed that learning is a must in our whole life. And it fits with SALT. Learn has an important place in the SALT Process.
 Community recognized their strengths and confident to use those. This is my hope to communities I will visited later on. I believed every community has strength. They just did not realize. And then communities use their own strength to address their problems of life.
 Involving our heart what ever you do. When your heart was happy to do something, anything else were not essential anymore. Rudi & Novi went to Sambas last week to introduce ACP. There’s no payment at all for both. But they were happy to do that.

We visited Jedi Makrua Temple, a Buddhism community who has involved in HIV-AIDS issues for more than 20 years. This community was familiar with SALT. Divide into 3 groups. Group 1 was hangin’ out with PLH’s and family. Group 2 with Community/religion leaders (I was in this group). Group 3 with local facilitators, who has experiences in facilitating ACP at Chiang Mai.

I will share what happened at group 2.
We did also at Pontianak/Singkawang. I often time heard about the success story of them in addressing HIV/AIDS issues. But I was excited, coz I will hear directly from the ‘original’ person and place.
Mr. Abbot (spokesman) told that the temple became a place for communities and PLHs to do their activities, such as regular meeting, training & workshop, and also cooking together. Maybe in here it’s just ordinary thing. But for me it was amazing, very special.

Mr. Abbot told that it was not easy at the beginning. There’s a resistance from communities. A lot of critics came out. But the younger monks were keeps trying. About critics, he had an interesting statement: if you’re afraid of critics, you will not living with others. You’re just living for your self. HIV was just one of a lot of issues in life that need to be addressed. It’s true.
I found an interesting ‘strategic’ on how to make community support these. It’s really simple. Temple involved PLH at one big moment. They cooked together and ate as well. And then what happened? Business as usual, nothing’s happened. Whereas previously, for example if there is PLH drank water in the temple (they have a big bowl as a patch), then the others won’t do that. If it seems PLHs touched something, communities won’t touch it.

There’s a local wisdom which still running until today: everyone is brother/sister, everyone is family. This is why the spirit of helping each others keeps alive. We’re in Indonesia actually had this kind of principle long time ago. That’s not here anymore. It is challenging to make it back again.
Mr. Abbot also realized, for some people, temple/religion could be ‘the last place u can trust’
They have also so many volunteer. Yup, they are not paid to do their activities to help PLHs and communities striving for AIDS Competence.

At the end, JL share his dream with the monk. He has a dream to invite the monk to visit Pontianak/Singkawang. The monk was happy to hear that and looking way forward for invitation.


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Comment by chandra nurhasz on June 29, 2009 at 7:48am
well, we'll be waiting for ur visit, my friend.
I'm sure everybody in Indonesia will be happy to see u
Comment by Gaston on June 28, 2009 at 2:23pm
Thanks Chandra to bringing me back to that wonderful SALT visit again in Northern Thailand. What a pleasure to have spent an inspiring week with you and even water your flowers at the end! Take care and I hope to visit your wonderful country and people again soon to keep learning from the Indonesians.


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