As we adapt our lives to the conveniences of modernity and particularly toward a reliance on the availability of information at the press of a button, are we considering the fact that through this advancement also arises an opportunity for a younger – technologically savvy – generation to be heard, to influence change, and to pave the way for our future?
A contemplative proposition, yes, but a theory which, for the most part, was the inspiration behind my excitement in accepting an invitation to speak with year three students at a Private School in Melbourne’s East, as an introduction to an interesting unit entitled ‘Exploration leads to discovery and new understanding’.
In attune with this topic, I spoke to the students about my motives for travel and the rewards I’d gained through doing so. I spoke, with great honour, of the Mentawai Indigenous people and culture; I spoke of the differences in lifestyle and how, by utilizing their natural resources, they’d supplement the basic conveniences we depend upon. I spoke of their infinite knowledge in natural medicine and the methods they use to prevent and treat illness. I spoke of their cultural beliefs, and the importance of ceremony, traditional song and dance. I spoke of how significant the role of a child is to their existence and how they treat them accordingly; I also spoke of the opportunities that have been introduced, including a school program providing children the ability to learn a literacy education similar to our own.
What I didn’t speak of though, but which actually excited me most, was the way in which these two communities – at seemingly opposite ends in stage of evolution, were unknowingly connecting with each other. For me, the greatest significance to this privilege lay, not just in the opportunity to expand the imagination of these students by giving insight to an alternate way of life, but in the realistic prospect that by imparting this knowledge on to these students, to our youth of today, and to us, the people of an experienced parent country who hold the key to the Mentawai communities right to equal opportunities, that perhaps someday their desire for a situation just like this will become a reality.
Now if you cast your mind back to a post HERE (asworldsdivide.com/archives/912), you’ll recall the gratitude given to GLOBALQUEST (coffey.com/about-coffey/our-charity/globalquest/about-globalquest) for a proposed commitment to support the development of the COMMUNITY SUPPORT PROGRAM (asworldsdivide.com/archives/501); well, it’s now upon us, this opportunity for us to offer our support and guidance to an Indigenous people facing (unwilful) cultural displacement and subsequent loss of identity. The situation, which is incredibly unique, sees GlobalQuest, through the generosity of Coffey International Staff, contributing 200% for each dollar raised before the close of June, so in effect a donation of $20 will be the equivalent of a donation of $60!
If you do support the idea of Indigenous communities receiving rights similar to those of our own and are in a situation to give, please, do offer your support. We have one month remaining on GlobalQuest’s pledge, so please act now. All donations during this period – however large or small – will go a long way toward the success of this program. If you’re unable to donate, your support in sharing this opportunity with family, friends, communities, and others, is of equal value.
Together, as a people privileged with freedom of choice and access to a wealth of information, we can make a difference. Masurak Bagatta, thank you.
Please donate to:
MENTAWAI SUPPORT PROGRAM
BSB – 033624
ACC – 217006
*Those donating who don’t wish to remain anonymous, please drop me an email to confirm and advise if you’d like to receive details of the program’s progress.