This is the Indonesian family that I got to know closely when I lived in Ambon, Maluku when I was 13 years old. They had a small house that was close to the place we were renting and our family's got to know each other by practicing language, exchanging food and drink, and working to connect from the heart.
Despite the incredible cultural and language barriers present between us, and a drastic difference in socio-economic class, we worked to develop our relationship to one another based on mutual respect, collaboration and open-minded friendliness.
This was almost 30 years ago, and today I am still in contact with two of the people in the above photo, whilst they have lost their Mother recently, we have always been in touch.
It's such an incredible thing to think that when we met there was only postal mail for communications and the only radio station we could get was 'The News in Special English' from the BBC which was delivered so slowly it was painful to listen to as native-English speakers! To think now that we can be in touch so many years later with social media is amazing!
On September 26th, an earthquake devastated many parts of Ambon, including this family's home. Many people have been displaced and are grouped together, relying on government aid of instant noodles, rice, sugar and eggs. The original earthquake was a magnitude of 5.2 just 4 km from where they live, and the many aftershocks have been terrifying and devastating for the huge population who live here.
Please do offer just a small token of appreciation as we are so lucky this Thanksgiving to have all the privileges of the Western World. Thinking globally and making alliances with people who are less fortunate is one way to ensure that global poverty will not continue!
With so much gratitude,
Susan and the people of Ambon Manise