so organization B is located, as you may recall, in iligan city, which is just outside lanao del norte. while, as you all know, the philippines is uber-catholic, there are a number of other widely practiced faiths here, including various other christian denominations (born again, 7th day adventist, united church of christ, to name a few), animist faiths still practiced by some indigenous people, and, particularly here in mindanao and in palawan, islam.
one of the brilliant things about iligan is that it is very much a vibrant mix of catholic and muslim, with animist groups to boot. organization B is sandwiched right between a mosque and a catholic church – both less than a minute’s walk away.
so the other day, i’m giving a little mini-presentation. we’ve got the air-con off and the windows open, and the most beautiful voices waft into the building. “is that gregorian chanting?” i ask, probably with a goofy romantic look on my face. indeed it is! i continued with my presentation, feeling just a tiny bit more at peace with the world.
then, not an hour later, we heard not only the call to prayer (which, for those of you who haven’t heard it, is absolutely enchantingly beautiful…or at least i think so), but also the entirety of the prayers…just magical.
this is a complicated island, full of tolerant notions and intolerant behaviors…i’m forever comparing the contradictions of the philippines to what i’ve always heard about india – another deeply religious country with many different perceptions of god. i’m not happy about a lot of what i see, and i’m still trying to figure out what i’m meant to do – if anything – to address the injustices that abound. but once in a while i am so taken by the simplicity of it all…and the answers that stare us in they eye and dare us to acknowledge…that some things could truly just be, if only we’d let them.