Tuesday, June 1, 2010
After a hectic month in Manila, I am out in the mountains for some rest, restoration and... Mandala making! I am staying with Dom-an, a petite Philipina of indigenous Igorot ancestory. Her Kasiyana Peace and Healing Center where I am typing this as the rain pours down gently on the roof. It is perched on a forested hillside surrounded by lush terraced rice paddies beside the village of Madungo, near Saganda in the Northern Philipines. Next week I will help with the rice harvest.
In the meanwhile we are introducing mandalas to the community! The other day we filled up the Madongo community centre with about 20 children ages 5-12. I think they understood some of my English, but just in case Dom-an was there to translate to the local Kankana-ey dialect. It is a very humble Igorot community of people who live off the land -- there were no pastels, let alone paper! So Dom-an and I improvised with home made playdough and Terra-cotta clay (thanks for the inspiration Sarah!)
I introduced the concept of mandalas and the kids excitedly started molding away. We made our favorite shapes. We made little balls as many times as our favorite numbers. By then, the kids had caught on, and a co-creative mandala began to take shape on the floor.
The Sagada area alas has been a place that has seen violence and war in the past-- going back to WWII. Simmering tensions between rebels and the government still echo in the town. What a beautiful and important place to do make a harmonious, co-creative, cross-cultural, peace-filed mandala. Especially with the upcomming generation that will inherit this land and it's legacies. Mandala making is subtlely powerful, the type of thing that leaves long lasting impressions and affirmations with children on how we can all work, create and live together as one.
The kids want us back, so this story isn't over yet!