Table of Contents

Minutes 29 Jan 2013

Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific

28/29 Jan 2013

 

Present: John Michaelis, Fenna Mandolang, Heri Wibowo, Petrus, Nadine Hoover, Sharon Hoover, Nicholas Rozard, Rosemary Epps, Gay Howard, Valerie Joy, Sarah Rozard.

Peace Team visiting Peace Place: Harriet Nettles, Margaret White, Bette Hoover, Martha Baer, Barbara Thomas

 

It took about 15-20 minutes to begin the call.

 

Check in

Friends Peace Team in Indonesia members said hello.

Petrus is glad do to receive the first full Peace Team at Peace Place

Sharon just finished PeaceWay. Dean ran his thumb through the table saw yesterday. He’ll be better next month.

Bowo is well. He went for a walk this morning and is feeling strong.

Nick is doing very well. Life is easy and Sarah and Nick just moved into a new house and they are painting.

Gay was not well, but now is feeling much better.

Rosemary bouncing between renovating a new unit and enjoying being part of the team preparing for Afghanistan. (Friends, we are glad to support Rosemary, but we are not publicizing it yet. After her trip she will see if we can be more public about our involvement there.)

John is still looking at the process of setting …

Nadine and the Peace Team lost electrical power and therefore Skype contact. Nick picked up recording later…

 

Action Items

 

Rosemary Epps pledged to become a sustainer. That makes 16 of the 32 sustainers needed, so we are already half way there!

 

Friends wished to simplify and specify the meaning of the priorities suggested by Nadine:

  1. A Reliable Friends Program: Defining and transferring the administration and coordination of Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific as an ongoing, reliable Friends program, writing a structure statement, volunteer team member handbook, and office handbooks for FPT-AWP.
  2. Documenting Grassroots Peace Work: Defining who and when work will be done on developing documentation and guidance for our work in English and Indonesian: Quaker materials, AVP basic workshop narration, Trauma Healing manual translation, Block Book, Playcentre materials, Discernment workshop.
  3. Supporting Traveling Peace Teams: Preparing for and hosting the team of six peace members arriving on February 5, 2013 and the young adults team being planned for June-July 2013.
  4. Share the News through Writing: Write the PeaceWays article, finish and disseminate the Friends Peace Teams introduction developed at SEYM, article to Columbia University, and the Discernment Manual.

Fenna will work on rewriting and specifying these priorities for the next call.

 

John has set dates for the trip to Nepal April 16 – May 1, 2013.  Costs are primarily the airfare to get to Nepal.  In country costs are around US$20/day + US$500 donation would be helpful.  One additional person is interested in coming and other AVP facilitators are invited. There are three workshops AVP Basic, Trauma Healing, and Discernment.

 

Sharon-A small writeup to be distributed by peace team council members may be appropriate. Suhbash will draft a write up to be distributed to Council members. John will review it.

 

Rosemary is grateful to the donor of AU$250 for her trip to Afghanistan.  She may use part of the donation to give mandalas to participants, since former participants took the mandala as a souvenir.

 

Closing

Sharon: Healing

Bowo: Semangat=Energy

Nick: Joy

Gay: Joy

Rosemary: Hope

Sarah: Love

John: Healing

Deb: Peace

Fenna: Structure

Valerie: Anticipation

 

Accomplishments

Australia Yearly Meeting focused on global warming and how to keep the employment of their peace and earth care worker and youth care worker, so there was a feeling that extra costs should be avoided, but that did not seem to negatively impact the discussion of joining the Friends Peace Teams’ Council. 50-80 people attended John Michaelis’ sharing group. Interest was strong, but the knowledge about Friends Peace Teams was too limited. They requested that Nadine present to five of the eight regional meetings on her visit and then John send documents to all eight regional meetings before the yearly meeting considers the invitation again.

 

John’s Leading Affirmed. Wahroonga Meeting minuted that they will make testing of leadings and concerns the primary focus on their monthly meeting. Last week John sent his leading to be coordinator of Friends Peace Teams, and his meeting affirmed.

 

Nepal Team Trip in April. John will be finalizing the dates for his trip to Nepal in the second half of April. John has collected the funds for a trip in April and one in October. When John Michaelis will report twice a year income and expenses in balance and hold the balance in Australia, Wahroonga Meeting approved holding and accounting for the funds in the meeting.

 

Sustainer Fund budget will cover costs of the Administrator position, an Indonesia Team Coordinator, office expense of regular office, one coordinator attendance at the annual face-to-face, coordinator flight and expenses to places we’ve made a regular commitment:

US$13,500 General Administrator

US$  3,000 Indonesia Team Coordinator

US$  2,000 Office expenses (wild guess, including internet)

US$  1,000 One coordinator to F2F meeting

US$  2,000 One coordinator trip to Indonesia per year

US$  2,000 One coordinator trip to Nepal per year

US$23,500 Sustainer Budget Total

US$  7,500 Team donations to Sustainer Budget (est. team of 6, then team of 10)

US$16,000 Sustainer Budget Total = 32 Sustainers

We have ten paid sustainers and four additional pledges. We’re almost half way. Please reach out to others and ask if others would like to join in making Friends Peace Teams reliably available over the years.

 

Afghanistan Team Trip,. Rosemary Epps, a Friend from Tasmania, is planning a trip to Afghanistan around March and is planning to ask FPT-AWP to take her travels under our care. Julei Korner, a skilled AVP facilitator, is planning on going with her for this trip. John will ask Rosemary to explore on this trip whether or not this might be an ongoing relationship and if so in what form, e.g. a trip once a year, twice a year, internet connection, letter writing, etc… and whether or not other Friends are invited to accompany her. We’d love to know how free communication about this work can be. If there are restrictions, what are they. Is it dangerous to speak openly or write on email about them, their location and their activities? Is it dangerous to share their names, photos and something about them? What are they doing? What is involved in Rosemary’s consideration about supporting them? On their side and on ours?

 

Monthly Call Prep. John and Nadine will brainstorm the accomplishments and decisions needed monthly. Nadine will email a call out to Petrus, Subhash, Bowo, Nick, Sarah, Rina, then John will send them to Sarah and ask her to send out the announcement of the call getting times from the world clock, and a narrated agenda to Fenna. Nadine will record, John will tech, Sarah and Nadine will translate, Fenna will clerk.

 

Florida Speaking Tour went very well. Nadine spoke at Tallahassee, Gainesville, St. Petersburg and Miami Meetings, then spent a week writing in Ft. Lauderdale, then spoke at the Southeastern Yearly Meeting interim sessions. Along the way she was able to spend extended time with many people on the board of ProNica and with Noah Baker Merrill, the new Secretary of New England Yearly Meeting. These visits were very enriching, contributing greatly to the clarity of thought and heart that goes into the work of Friends Peace Teams.

 

Writing: Nadine drafted an “Introduction to FPT-AWP” and some Friends have reviewed and commented. We’d like to develop this for our website and to send to some Friends publications. Nadine submitted a chapter “Inextricability of Peace, Development and Conscience” for a book project at Columbia University. It was a lot of work, but they offer US$5,000 to each of the ten chapters selected (see attached).

 

Peace Place Developments! I talked with Petrus and Nanik from the time I arrived at 7:30pm until midnight. They’re learning so much and are increasingly enthusiastic and committed. Nadine has already done two practice Meetings for Discernment, and a developmental play session, visited Tondamulyo and another preschools in their area. Peace Place is now has internet, which is really great!

 

Peace Place Discernment Meeting agenda is: Check in, Silence, Remember what we’ve accomplished this month, issues/questions/concerns, check out. In the past month, Peace Place has accomplished:

Items to consider, include:

Check out: PP, energetic; SS, keep on keeping on; NN, enthusiasm; YY, honesty; MM, persistence; RR keep it up; NN, stick in there.

 

Peace Work with Toddlers and Families: The Joglo Preschool

Teachers and students are both visibly progressing developmentally at Joglo Preschool. They attributed this to the regular time the teachers–Nanik, Ninok and Utami–spend together and the regular discussion they have about the children. Petrus says when you listen to them talk, they talk about and think about particular children as cases, not how they used to talk about what to do about particular incidents. The complex realities of the lives and responses of children teach us the way, if we have a way of seeing them, take the time to pay attention and learn from and interact with the children.

 

Peace Work with Teens and Pre-Teens: The To Be Smart Lessons

There are many after-school tutoring programs in the Peace Place neighborhood, so Nanik’s tutoring income has dropped from the equivalent of around US$200 or more a month to about US$50/month. In this neighborhood, new to them, students mostly attend after-school tutoring with their public school teacher. Although the time is brief and the quality low, the added income to the teacher secures them an increased grade in class, so they won’t readily come to a program like ours where they learn, but it can’t guarantee them better grades in class. But Nanik is confident as people become familiar with the quality of learning at Peace Place, the after-school groups will fill up and replace her income eventually, it just might take two or three years.

 

Peace Work with Adults: AVP-style Workshop Series

Their skill and confidence in running workshops has increased dramatically. Consequently, this will slowly lead to people to apprentice with the preschool teachers and the workshop facilitators, but the progress is slow. Facilitators come right at the time to start or late and leave immediately. They are not sharing the load of cleaning up let alone reflecting on what was learned and how they’ll do better. Improvements appear to be emerging from the three who are working daily on the preschool. Identifying, cultivating and securing capable human resources remains the central challenge in Indonesia.

 

Peace Work through Developmental Toys: Wooden Unit Blocks

We had hoped that the wooden unit blocks would provide some income to support this work, especially in these first few years of development, but production has slowed to a halt. The last three sets sold to customers in Jakarta were eaten from the inside out by worms, because we had asked that the wood not be dipped in toxic treatment. Kamto enthusiastically embarked on taking on making the blocks. He got a 55-gallon drum to boil the wood in before drying, but it exploded when he torched the top off the drum. His spirits are still high, because he survived and none of his children were hurt, but he’ll spend months recovering. Petrus is aware, though, that Jepara has not been keen to continue because even their best local woodworkers only get about 60% of what they make to pass our quality control and they have no way to use the other material that is rejected. The cost of making the blocks without laser machines is too high. Kamto’s accident took the the breath away for Nanik and others at Peace Place, and put a damper on the development of developmental toys, but they all say Kamto and they will resume as soon as they can.

 

Peace Place Long-term Sustainabilty

In the meantime, Petrus and Nanik are financially strapped: paying debt from building Peace Place, adding numerous incidental costs at Peace Place, and Nanik’s lowered income. Nanik hopes to persist with the preschool, after-school and workshop activities until they begin to generate more income. She’s particularly excited about the progress she sees in the preschool teachers–herself, Ninok and Utami. I reminded her that preschools don’t return the level of personal income she needs. She acknowledged that, but said eventually if they get good, they can realize income through taking on preschool teacher apprentices. Certainly this is true, but again, a long-term view not an immediate solution. Petrus reduced his responsibilities at the SHEEP office, including commitments to travel, since he has been traveling extensively for work for years. He will remain project manager with activities in twelve villages in Aceh and three villages in Java through October 2014, which should take 4 days per week plus some intensive work/travel time, but should be home more at Peace Place, in order turn more attention to Peace Place.

 

Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific Sustainers

Sarah and Nadine recommend Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific hire Petrus part time to co-administrate teams to Indonesia with Sarah at a rate of Rp.30,000/hour, which will be about US$250/month. We will draft a job description to propose to the working group, to be funded by sustainers and peace team members. This will support organizing the teams and generate funds to continue to developing Peace Place. This will close the immediate financial income/expense gap. We need to put this in the context of the entire “reliable Friends program” budget we will rely on sustainers for and explain how that differs from activities and ministries.

 

Peace Place Financial Health and Security: Releasing Us for Peace Work

This still leaves three outstanding financial concerns: 1) Petrus is paying about Rp 1,750,000 per month in debt repayment, Rp 650,000/mo through the end of 2013 and Rp1,100,000/mo through October 2014. In addition, he owes the equivalent of about US$5,000 in loans that come due all at once in April 2013. He had planned to sell his portion of some family land to pay for it, but the family objected to selling the land and his brother who usually lends him money when needed, has been complaining of financial troubles since his wife has been ill. So both avenues for covering the April balloon payment of US$5,000 are gone. If needs to borrow the funds from somewhere, for three years.  2) Petrus’ son Wiwit will enter high school this year. He is an intelligent, energetic, challenging child (hmm, sound like anyone you know?). High schools in Indonesia are not compulsory and not free. To get a school that could engage Wiwit would costs about US$800 to register and $600 per year to stay enrolled. They need a scholarship for Wiwit’s high school. 3) The railing on the second floor of the guest house is still not finished. We did not discuss it last night, but the last we cost the railing it was anywhere from US$800 – $2,700. The upper cost was standard metal railing, the lower costs were innovative suggestions from John and I. Once again we come up against the developmental level of the crafts people. Our proposal would cost much less, but require actually thought. I’m not confident they can find someone to try unconventional building, and if they did, there would most likely be a raft of additional problems not to mention the safety risks. To provide financial health and security, in order to turn attention to the developing the content of grassroots peace work would require funding for an FPT-AWP Indonesia Team Coordinator, an interest-free loan, a high-school scholarship and a railing for the FPT Guest House.

 

Organizational Discernment and Partnerships

The final thing we discussed was the relationship with SHEEP. When Petrus provided more details about past bad feelings, the differences between how donor-based projects operate and discernment-based people-to-people activities operate that cause organizational distress became much clearer. To collaborate with others and potentially operationalize discernment as an organizational approach, we will need to be much more explicit about these differences. We are a FRIENDS, PEACE, TEAM. Communicating what it means to operate in the manner of Friends is central to our work as a society for ourselves as well as for our partners and others. We already discussed above how to support peace work and traveling teams connecting home teams here and there. But being explicit about operating based on discernment and documenting that, is another major effort of its own.

 

1. Being of One Mind: Handshake vs. Contractual Budget

2. Knowing What to Do: Questioning Integrity vs. Commanders with Answers

3. Thought and Thoughtless: Understanding vs. Procedure

4. Sharing What Happened: Storytelling vs. Reporting

 

Many misunderstandings occur between traditional hierarchical organization and discernment guided organization. We discover that people are offended and feel mistrusted when we “Is this right?” “Is this consistent with what we believe?” Many people think it is natural to be offended when one’s work is called into question, but when we commit to discernment  we commit to asking that question of ourselves and each other endlessly. We discover that people feel confused and threatened when we discuss a topic with lots of people before coming to a meeting. In hierarchy, decisions revolve around a lot of politics of power rather than the fullest, best understanding of what is right. The latter takes a lot of time and details. If discernment drives decisions, then we all need to think about something and talk about it fully until we become clearer and get to know a thing. This will not occur in a meeting. Since what is true and right will guide the decision, lots of discussion about it builds confidence, does not threaten it. This has been a wonderful, learning opportunity.

 

Tondolmulyo used their building gift to the fullest! The structure built behind Pak Sun’s house is natural, open, light. The preschool focuses on the work and the facility totally supports it. It’s great! The women working there, their eyes are brighter, their faces more expressive, their attention is sharper and they talk–naturally, intelligently. It was wonderful to see these shy, embarrassed primary school graduated come out of their shells!!! As John says, Tondomulyo is going to lose it’s reputation for being the most closed, militant Muslim communities around!!! It was lovely.

 

East and North Aceh

Friends in East Aceh are not able to follow-through and administer things. So, AVP is failing where it’s needed the most. They themselves confirm without hesitation that it does not look like AVP will survive in East Aceh. Just an hour further north of Dahlan’s home, across the border into North Aceh, is Pak Zaini’s community in Seuneuddon. We would like to explore the possibility of seeing if we could “plant” this work there. So we are going there this trip to do a five day workshop. This is the area that produces the Acehnese bags. Our supply has been disrupted for over a year now, so we will also explore with them whether or not they can help us to export Acehnese bags.

 

Preparation for Australia

We will hold three workshops in Australia: Discernment workshop in Sydney, team: Nadine, John, Katherine Smith and Julei (a great opportunity to get got know Julei better); Discernment workshop at Silver Wattle, team: Nadine, John, Bev Polzin, Valerie Joy; and Trauma Healing workshop in Melbourne, team: Nadine, John, Bev Polzin, Chris, Moira, Valerie. Bev Polzin has done a Trauma Awareness workshop, which will be nice to compare.