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Community Reading Room and the Barak Induk New Generation AVP Team

Community Reading Room and the Barak Induk New Generation AVP Team

When we ask residents in Barak Induk, former refugee camp in N Sumatra, to give an example of someone who has been changed by the Friends Peace Teams visits, they give one of two answers: …me! …or Mislan! From childhood Mislan was a thug. After surviving the war, being displaced by the war, losing all he had and taking his young family into the mountains to survive, he was one of the feared. The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops changed his life. Now he runs an exceptional preschool, runs AVP workshops, hosts Friends Peace Teams, and encourages young people to read, all supported by working in the fields, waiting for his plantings to bear fruit. In another five years he will have fruit and rubber trees and life will get easier. Still he persists.

Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific was able to obtain a contribution of $2,500 to build a Community Reading Center (Taman Bacaan Masyarakat (TBM)) across the path from Mislan’s home. Mislan built a permanent structure with a ceramic floor. Somewhat expensive, but necessary to protect the books in the long run. They hope to house the first village computer here once they can assure it will not get wet—there was not a single other place in the village where we could guarantee a computer would not get wet!

Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific was able to obtain a contribution of $2,500 to build a Community Reading Center (Taman Bacaan Masyarakat (TBM)) across the path from Mislan’s home. Mislan built a permanent structure with a ceramic floor. Somewhat expensive, but necessary to protect the books in the long run. They hope to house the first village computer here once they can assure it will not get wet—there was not a single other place in the village where we could guarantee a computer would not get wet!

Prices have risen with the rise in gas prices and dramatic inflation. So he borrowed, sold land, skimped to complete the structure for $3,300. We are seeking another $900 to repay the full cost of the construction and use $100 for an initial stock of books.  

After our AVP basic workshop for teens, six of the young people, three men and three women, met in the TBM every night. Reels of laughter, screams of delight, subdued moments of intense conversation ensued from the TBM. They’d run across the path and in the kitchen door to ask Mislan or I a question and run back. They got proficient at over 50 light and livelies and took the team building and clinic agendas very seriously. They are now facilitating mini workshops twice a month for elementary students. They hope to schedule another teen workshop soon.  

We had given adults much attention as we resisted the massive threats of logging and palm oil interests through shootings, kidnappings and bombings. We gave the very young much attention through a AVP-based preschool. These teens were infants and toddlers when their families were displaced into the mountains. Now they find themselves erupting with anger, dropping out of school and becoming a lost generation. This team, almost single handedly, is turning that around. To see the joy on their faces when the weeks before we could not get them to wake up from the couch!

Please join us on a trip and come to meet these lovely young people and, if possible, consider a donation. A public pledge to raise $500/year makes you a sustainer, but a donation of any size goes farther than you can imagine for activities and visits. See fpt-awp.org.

Thank you for your generosity! Nadine Hoover