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Saturday, August 20, 2011

People helping people: World Humanitarian Day 2011

Amidst the strife, the destruction, the heartbreak of natural and human-generated disasters, the goodness of humanity shines through. WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY celebrates this innate goodness in all of us. Visit the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs online to find out how you can help survivors and responders cope with calamities.

Primer on the World Humanitarian Day from the United Nations:

Every year, disasters cause immense suffering for millions of people – usually
the world’s poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable individuals. Humanitarian
aid workers strive to provide life-saving assistance and long term rehabilitation to
disaster-affected communities, regardless of where they are in the world and
without discrimination.

Humanitarian aid is based on a number of founding principles, including
humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. Humanitarian aid workers
want to be able to access those in need in order to provide vital assistance
. This
wish should be respected.

Humanitarian aid workers are from all corners of the world, male and female, and
reflect all cultures and backgrounds. The majority come from the countries in
which they work. Strong, professional and independent local organisations are
key actors in all humanitarian responses.

Everyone can be a humanitarian. People affected by disasters are the first to
help their own communities following a disaster. Communities, local partner
organizations, international organizations and the general public can build a
chain of solidarity to support communities in responding to and recovering from

Responding to emergencies is only one aspect of humanitarian work.
Humanitarian workers also support communities to rebuild their lives after
disasters, to become more resilient to future crises, to help their voices to be
heard, and to build lasting and sustainable peace in areas of conflict.

Today, the most pressing humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in the Horn
of Africa.
Famine has spread in Somalia, including Mogadishu, and threatens to
expand throughout the south. Many people are dying. 12.4 million people in
Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti urgently need our help and the numbers
are increasing. Humanitarian partners continue to work hard on the ground to
save lives. Their commitment must be matched by donors, the private sector and
individuals alike.

Awareness of impermanence and appreciation of our human potential will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment. - the Dalai Lama

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Sangandaan - A fork in the road

It is a period of transitions in our office. It is a season of planned departures and burgeoning beginnings. We are anxious and at the same time excited and hopeful of how these next three weeks will unfold.

The soundtrack my heart hums is no other than Ding Achacoso and Pete Lacaba's SANGANDAAN, from the movie Sister Stella L.

Sangandaan or "fork in the road" talks about our humanity as we face choices, our moments of indecision, and the need to just take the plunge and do it- especially about matters of the heart. It can be Divine Providence; it can be human folly. Quite apt, the music is, for the movie Sister Stella L. where a young nun finds herself at the crossroads of her faith, to stay put in the confines of her convent or live among God's poorest, to stay true to her religious vows or rekindle an abruptly ended romance. For us in the office, the song has a different hue, as it still represents our common career conundrums.

Noel Cabangon's cover as well as the lyrics (from Mr. Lacaba's blog) follow below.


Walang komplikasyon
Ang buhay mo noon:
Kalooban mo’y panatag,
Kalangitan ay maliwanag,
Ang daan ay tuwid at patag
Sa buhay mo noon.
Ngunit bawat pusong naglalakbay,
Dumarating sa sangandaan:
Ngayong narito ka,
Kailangang magpasiya.
Aling landas ang susundin ng puso?
Saan ka liligaya, saan mabibigo?
Saan ka tutungo?

Kay daling sumunod
Sa hangin at agos:
Aasa ka na ang dalangin,
Gagabay sa ‘yong damdamin.
Ngunit saan ka dadalhin
Ng hangin at agos?
Alam mong bawat pusong nagmamahal,
Dumarating sa sangandaan:
Ngayong narito ka,
Kailangang magpasiya.
Aling landas ang susundin ng puso?
Saan ka liligaya, saan mabibigo?
Saan ka tutungo?

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Never lost, always found (22): Just be

Last Sunday's Second Reading is one of my all-time favorite passages from the Holy Bible:

Brothers and sisters:
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35, 37-39

It is St Paul's enduring reassurance of God's love, for those in transition, for those choosing to stay put. It is a perfect overarching cloak of love, especially if you'll choose to espouse The Holstee Manifesto below:

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