This weekend I have been staying with and leading workshops from the community center in Tala. Coloocan-- a barrio of Manila. It is a humble urban community where chickens and ducks walk around on the earthen streets and children play barefoot amidst the cinder block houses. Roosters crow and tricycles putter loudly. These tricycles are the motorcycle taxis are the main means of transportation, mainly because they are ideal for navigating around the ducks, chickens and other speed bumps on the narrow streets.
In 2009 a Typhoon caused two dams to overflow. A wall of water flooded their neighborhood river and washed out everything. The youth told me stories about how they had to flee their homes with but their shirt on their back and take shelter in the basketball court. They told me how when the water receded everything was encased in mud. Words like destruction, sadness, loss, calamity, loss of control, and more came up as we talked about it. But then so too did the words hope, coming together, community, help and unity. Unity was a word they all agreed on was best to describe what was most important in the aftermath. The Christians and Muslims that live here all came together to help each other out.
The youth have a deep empathy for what is happening in Japan. They've been through it. I was here mainly to do a social media workshop, but that has turned into a spontaneous art prayer workshop. The children wrote out their prayers for Japan on pieces of paper and we photographed them. These we uploaded as a Facebook album-- using their new social media skills.
You can find a link to the full gallery here:
Here are their prayers for unity in Japan.