Bread for the World Members Go to Indonesia
If you're a veteran of national gatherings, as I am, perhaps you missed having Carmelite Sisters Jane Remson and Blaise Fernando (of New Orleans Bread for the World) join us this year. Jane and Blaise had a different calling: to visit some of the areas of Indonesia that were ravaged by the huge tsunami in December 2004. Their mission was to meet with Carmelites actively involved in peace and justice ministries in that country, and to choose a handful of projects for funding.
Jane wrote a very touching travelogue about their trip to Indonesia in the web site for the Global Network for Justice, which also includes information about activities for New Orleans Bread for the World.
"On our second day in Jakarta we joined a group of dedicated women, led by Luci and Aming, who conduct a feeding project at a local shelter for the mentally ill. I must confess I was unprepared for what I witnessed at the shelter," said Jane.
She went on to say: "The ladies go to this “place of abandoned people” each month to feed the patients and administer what medical care they can. One of their members is a doctor and she said all the patients are severely malnourished and suffering with skin fungus due to the lack of a nutritious diet and filth. There is an open sewer running through the area that drains into an open cesspool. You can imagine the flies. To say the patients (men, women and teenagers all living together) are not receiving adequate health care is an understatement."
But there were many positive outcomes of the trip. For one, Jane and members of her delegation were able to bring diverse groups together.
"Networking became very important because during our sharing all mentioned a lack of communication among Justice & Peace groups as a major obstacle to their working together. The major outcome of our meeting was to form the Association of Carmelites Actively Working in Justice & Peace Ministries in Indonesia (ACAWJPMI). The Association would become a member of the Carmelite NGO representing Indonesia," said Jane.
The trip also resulted in new funding for local economic development and long-term education projects.
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