Connecting local responses around the world
I was member of group that visited community of Penawar in the event organised by Open Space and National Volunteer and Philanthropy Center (NVPC) in Singapore on 8th -11th November 2018. During the program Constellation's joint coaches in collaboration with Ranga from Beyond Social Service were facilitating the sessions. For me, this SALT learning was very special as well as challenging, and of course so much fun, in regards to Singaporean friends who are very smart, detail and very much structured. From that I learned that this habit are reflection of discipline and lifetime exercise.
Before we visited the Penawar Community we discussed how can we opened conversation with the community. I found my self has no difficulty to meet people in any situations. However I learned that my friends need some arrangements to ensure that we would be well accepted by community we are going to visit. I used to be not really noticed that preparing topic of discussion, how to avoid sensitive notion and how to ensure that we are not positioning ourselves as interviewer when we are going to visit community are things need to be arranged in structured way. For me all went as natural as I talk. I was thinking so hard how can this situation became very complicated. When we discussed and shared our concern on how to respond in proper way, what if community member asked sensitive questions or what if we would like to ask sensitive questions I felt I understood to where direction these notions went. I reflected that connection was a bit unnatural however in the same time it's very much sophisticated since we try to make it as brain works. I tried to make myself easy and try to be on my shoes.
In fact the visit was soo... fun, opened and conversation run smoothly. I tried to have personal chat with Zuby, a leader of the community, about housing in my homeland. We talked in Bahasa and shared our personal stories. Same things also did by other group members. We were accepted in her apartment and we felt were welcome as family member. Seri, one group member shared that when she put off her shoes when was entering Zubi's house, she felt she was empty and opened her heart to let her followed what would happened as it has to be. She only listened and spoke little. Either was I. I learned from Seri when I felt vulnerable in fact that's in the same time I felt strenght to be ready to open my self on my presence and new understanding.
Another Zubi came with sensitive issue of being LGBT. The thing that all of us wanted to learned as well as concerned about. I listened to her stories, challenges she faced and voice of her concern on the need to be accepted, acknowledged and not suffering from discrimination particularly on performing her religion. I kept listening her and felt what she felt. I learned that she accepts her status as a gift from God, not a choice. It's different with what I thought. I understand that I have been connected with LGBT friends thought AIDS related program that was totally different on perceiving LGBT status. What I understood was it's my friend choice and be responsible with the choice. Meanwhile, from Zubi I learned that she accepted this as God's gift and she live her life at natural way. I'm reflecting and was busy with my personal conversation that what I have to do is that to combine brain work to understand and heart work to accept. SALT ease me to respond to this situation and make it as simple as human way.