The Outsider

Traveling to communities have brought me to many experiences —mostly encounters of acquiantances.

You just don’t get to meet a person or group of people, you get to meet and have a chance to be in touch with their culture, their history, and their varying experiences.

The different-ness and uniqueness at the point of my contact with them result to dialogues (and sometimes when less fortunate about it, insightful frictions). It makes for wonderful insights, some of which figure in some of my writings/ reports.
Through a period of time  I have always believed that once we get to pass the process of acceptance and understanding — we oftentimes assume and feel that we are one with them, already, as an insider of their commune.

Later, we would also believe that we understand them and feel how they feel.

The process comes, at the minimum, in the form of one example — the free and prior informed consent (FPIC). Once we get an FPIC, many think its a universal clearance and passed on wisdom. The thing is they gave us consent based only on what we revealed.

But the element of trust in having to get accepted and permitted to interact and to search inside the community does not merit license to be an insider, already.

The trust is only borrowed and for it to continue, it has to be nurtured to allow it to grow along with ones relationship with the community.

On a recent visit to the Talaandig community in Songco, Lantapan in Bukidnon, near the Mt. Kitanglad Range and Natural Park, I have reaffirmed this reflection.

I felt that I have grown in my understanding but I also felt that the more I think I have learned, there is more that I need to learn about them and my ignorance.

As one’s knowledge expands on the desires, dreams and struggles of the community, one is also bound to bear with greater responsibility to understand it and use it accordingly. Helping others understand what one has learned is also a concern.

This mystery between the visitor and the host presents a rich treasure for articulation in written or any other form of communication in the hope of widening and deepening of inter-cultural understanding and as others would put as cliche “world peace”.

Just thinking out loud.



About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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