Monday, March 23, 2009

nursing poncho

I make nursing ponchos for women who want privacy during the times they need to nurse publicly. For a donation of at least $22.00, plus shipping, you can have a blue poncho. Pictures coming today.

Please leave a comment with your email. Part of the proceeds go to Indonesia.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Community Center






Where is Gowok Village located?


Gowok is a small village in the Samigaluh Sub-District, and Kulonpraga District of Yogyakarta Special Province. It is located in an isolated area of the “Menoreh” Mountainous Range. As a matter of fact it is located only around 2.1 kilometers north of a tourism alternative road of the City of Yogyakarta to Purworeja. Before the 1980s, people had to walk on barefoot around 4 hours to reach the closest city, such as Purwareja. It is on the west border of Yogyakarta Special Province, 33.3 kilometers west the City of Yogyakarta, and 777 meters above sea level.  It is one of the highest points in Kulonpraga District. Because of its location and Gowok’s past history, some people think that Gowok is the end of the world. Gowok is also far from the center of the Samigaluh Sub-District or Kulonpraga District. Therefore it gets less attention from the local government. The population of Gowok is around 270. It consists of 70 families. There is no public facility, such as a market, school, health center or water system. Even two thirds of the population has not enjoyed a public power supply yet.   


What does Gowok look like?


Even though Gowok is situated in an isolated area, it has rich resources and strengths. Gowok used to be the center of Javanese cultures. Unfortunately some outside world views (it may also be caused by some religious teachings) have uprooted Gowok local wisdoms and values. It is reflected by several local folklores, such as the “Areng-areng” Mount Legend where Gowok’s heavenly ancestors stored 2 sets of invisible Javanese music instruments. The land of Gowok is fertile and prosperous. It is reflected by the Legend of Goddess Sri. She is the Goddess of Prosperity. In addition to that, Gowok might be a safe place for those who have escaped from some oppressive political powers. Gowok people believe that their ancestors were from the Prince Dipanegara Army forces during the Javanese Kingdom’s Civil War.  According to the history, the Indonesian Revolutionary War Army forces used to live in Gowok and its vicinities. For example, the Army General TB Simatupang lived in the “Kucir” Mount area. It is 6 kilometers northeast of Gowok. He is a former World Council of Churches chairperson. It is reflected by the Legend of Damping Cavern Tiger, Damping Rice Plantation Flying Horse, Cakrawangsa Water Spring, Suradipa Water Spring, and some tombs of Gowok Village pioneers. The most important idea is that Gowok people have practiced a universalistic, tolerant, and hospitable way of life. Even though they belong to several different religious communities, they live in harmony. For example, people celebrate Idul Fitri regardless of their religions.  That is one of the strengths of the Gowok community in that they can share with others in the midst of emerging inter-group or interfaith tensions or conflicts in Indonesia or fractured worlds. The tensions or conflicts may be caused by some exclusive ideas or factions.


Rev. Aart van Beek, a PC-USA minister who visited Gowok 25 years ago, said “Gowok is one of the most beautiful villages of Java Island. Unfortunately few people know about it”.  It is close to several eco-tourism destinations, such as Kiskenda Cavern, Seplawan Cavern, and Suralaya Top. According to local legend, Suralaya Top is the place where gods and goddess dwell. It is also close to the Ettawa Goat Breeding Center in Gagaluwas Village, the Pagilaran Tea Plantation, Mahkota Dewa Herbal Plantation, and Commercial Pine Tree Plantation.  People also plant curcuma, ginger, some other herbal plants, salaks fruit, clove, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and coconut trees here. From a distance, on the top of Halilintar Mount, we can enjoy the beauty of South Java Beach (south), Merapi Mount (north east), Merbabu  Mount (north), Sumbing Mount (north west), Sindoro Mount (north west), Lawu Mount (east; the Sleeping Maiden Mount), the City of Yogyakarta (east), Magelang (north), Purwareja (west), Sentolo (south east), Wates (south), Sleman (north east), Bantul (south east), Sleman (north), and Muntilan (north). Also, from a distance we can enjoy the South Java Limestone Mountainous Range – called the Thousand Mount Region.  From the Ngrandukuning area, we can enjoy Kintamani of Java. Kintamani is one of the most beautiful places in Bali Island.


How will the Gowok people utilize their resources for a better future life?


Since 2005 the Global Education Partnership of Indonesia of the GEPOI Foundation has worked in Gowok. It has two programs there. The first one is an integrated community development. The second one is a monthly medical doctor practice and also alternative medication. Facilitated by the GEPOI Foundation, the Gowok community has founded “Gowok Manunggal,” a Self-Help Group or GM SHP. It is a means by which the Gowok community develops a better life through running small enterprises. They produce organic fertilizer, “Ettawa” goat breeding, “Mahkota Dewa” (Heavenly Crown) tea or instant tea, and some other herbal products.  Because there is no retreat or training facility in the entire Kulonprada District, GM SHP plans to build a retreat or a training center. It will be a community based retreat or training center. The center can be used as a rural community empowerment center where Gowok and its vicinities will participate in community learning. It will be built, managed, and operated by/for the welfare of the Gowok community and its vicinities. The late Mr & Mrs Samuel Wiryasentana, founders of the local Christian congregation, donated their 18,000 meters square for the center.


In Phase I (2008/2009), GM SHP will renovate the Wiryasentana’s former house to equip this with an entrance gate, a meeting room, a public kitchen, a reading/computer room, an office room, a public rest room, a water reservation system and a parking area. The budget is $ 21,000 US. In Phase II (2009/2010), GM SHP will build 3 cottages. These cottages will enable GM SHP to accommodate 24 guests. The budget will be $ 30,000 US. In Phase III (2011/2012), GM SHP will renovate 6 houses of Gowok families to be home stay. It will help each family to host 6 guests. The budget will be around $ 30,000 US. The owners of the houses will be responsible for 50% of the total budget. By the end of Phase III, the center will be able to accommodate 60 people to have an event such as a meeting, seminar, workshop, course, conference, and training. Then, at the last phase, in Phase IV, GM SHP will rehabilitate 17,000 meter square of traditional mixed farming to be a modern horticulture farming plantation. In addition to that, two (2) members of GM SHP will participate in the Phase IV program. They will contribute around 6,000 meter square mixed farming in the program. This means that the entire farming land rehabilitation program will cover around 23,000 meter square land.  The budget of Phase IV will be around $ 207,000 US.


GM SHP plans to utilize the new retreat center as its office, health clinic, information center, public gathering, rural community training, meeting, workshop, nature learning laboratory, local farming product market, and local art or cultural performance venue. In addition to that GEPOI Foundation plans to use the new retreat center for outbound activities, inclusive leadership, rural community development, entrepreneurship, communication, counseling training, group counseling service, meditation class, computer training, etc. By implementing those plans, there will be many more people coming and staying in Gowok Village. GM SHP guests will buy farming products directly from the local farmers. The isolation of Gowok Village will be broken. Gowok community and its vicinities will enjoy a better life. All retreat center services will be operated by the local people and for the benefit of them. In addition to that, the retreat center development plan will encourage the local government to improve the quality of Gowok Village and its vicinities’ infrastructures.




Besides a partnership with the GEPOI Foundation, GM SHP would like to invite those who share the vision and mission to develop some future partnership. Your future partnership will enable us to manage our resources better for the benefits of Gowok community and its vicinities.  Our contact person is Rev. Totok S. Wiryasaputra, GEPOI Foundation Executive Director, Banteng Utama 38, Jakal Km. 8.5, Yogyakarta 55581, Telpon/Fax: 0274-880320, Email: or Websites:  He is 1990 Th.M. Class of Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia (pastoral care studies) and now is doing his D.Min Program of Pastoral Counseling Emphasis in San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, California. He is a grief counselor and a pioneer of pastoral care and counseling education and ministry in Indonesia.




















Saturday, November 01, 2008

Mud Volcano

If a company took responsibility for fixing a problem, would they stll be in business?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A new world of men,

Imagine a day when men feel no need for violence. Imagine a day when men feel no need to use women or children in the sex trade, when men say no to kidnapping or buying people for slavery. Imagine peaceful men who are givers and have compassion. Imagine men who are not afraid other men will hurt them if they are doing what is helpful. Who has more money, and who has more power in this world? There are so many compassionate and kind men. Pay it forward began with a male.

Herb Wagemaker wrote Taming Oedipus to help raise boys. Also there is something that can help military people called The Practice of Dream Healing by Edward Ticks.

I received this below from a conference in Winston-Salem in 2006.
Christian Myths about Sexual and Domestic Abuse
By Mary Potter Engel, Ph.D.
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
1. Sexual and domestic abuse do not occur in nice Christian families.
Statistics show that sexual and domestic abuses occur as frequently in religious households as in non-religious households.
2. Sexual and domestic abuses occur in “those other” denominations, not in the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, (etc.) faiths.
All Christian denominations are affected by sexual and domestic abuse. To deny this is to try to find yet one more way to avoid the injustice and shift the responsibility.
3. Theology is irrelevant to sexual and domestic abuse.
There are some reports that members of more rigid Christian groups are at higher risk of abuse. While we have no reliable data on this as yet, it is the case that a theology that is more hierarchical and patriarchal than egalitarian is one, among many other factors, that can increase the likelihood of the abuse of women and children.
4. The power of God alone will change the situation.
By “turning it all over to God,” the individual avoids the help that God sends to us through the hands and hearts of other human beings, whether they be social workers, ministers, friends, other family members or counselors. In other words, it is a fallacy to assume that God works WITHOUT any effort on the part of human beings. We are created to be responsible selves, and thus we are human beings. We are created to be responsible selves, and thus we are obligated to use the gifts for healing that God places before us in this life.
5. Accepting Jesus as his or her personal savior will solve the problems of the abuser.
Domestic and sexual abuse are rarely one time events. Often they are patterns of behavior that are very difficult to overcome. A flash conversion experience will not cure a person of deeply ingrained patterns immediately. Therefore, it is necessary to make use of whatever legal, psychological and pastoral aids and service s that are available to assist the perpetrator in his or her recovery toward wholeness.
6. Redemption comes only through suffering.
Personal suffering can be an occasion for our own growth, but it is never the cause of growth. In other words, suffering is not necessarily redemptive. It embitters some persons rather than urging them towards growth. WE can be redeemed in our suffering but we are never redeemed because of our suffering. God does not require any one or any groups of persons to pay a demanding price in order to purchase redemption. God grants wholeness and healing as free gifts of peace.
For women in the church, the revolutionary theology of the cross of Christ, a witness to his active choice to take a stand against the injustice in the world, has been distorted into a reactionary theology of suffering, a justification for the passive and unprotesting acceptance of their own unjust victimization.
7. God teaches us, trains us, through suffering, therefore it is to be accepted as a gift.
The belief that God has a divine plan, purpose or reason for the ills that one must suffer during her or his life may bring comfort ot some victims by giving them a sense of control of their reality. (If they cannot control what happens to them, they can at least control the interpretation of it.) In other words, this theological belief may be part of the survival mechanism of the victim and should be dealt with sensitively and gently. The aim, however, would be to lead victims and survivors to see that there are acts of violence that have systemic roots, (i.e. caused by an unjust system in society) and that impinges upon their individual lives rather than that of others in a random way, (I.e. the acts are irrational and they personally are not singled out for some divine purpose).
8. Suffering is a punishment for past sins.
Many women feel that they are beaten or raped or otherwise abused as a punishment for previous sins (usually previous sexual activity). They need to know that being sexually active is not in itself sinful and therefore requires no punishment. They also need to know that they do not deserve the treatment they are receiving; that they are unwitting and involuntary victims of an explosive system; and that it is the perpetrator, because of his abuse of his force or authority, who carries the full responsibility for his action toward her.
9. Suffering is a divine vocation.
Women will occasionally argue that it is their “mission” or vocation to save their husbands by their example of patient forbearance. While each one of us is given a divine vocation, no one of us is called to save another human being. That is as presumptuous as it is impossible. It is the work of God to save.
10. Suffering presents us with opportunities to show compassion and love in our suffering with the victims of abuse.
According to Mother Theresa, God is present in suffering human beings and we are to take the suffering of others as opportunities to do works of compassion and love. This is an individualistic and passive approach that accepts the whole system of injustice and does not work to change that system or to understand the social causes of the problem of exploitation of women and children. We do not need to accept unjust suffering in order to show compassion and love. In fact, acts of social justice that aim at restructuring the entire patriarchal system so that there will be no more victims can be fine works of compassion and love.
11. Suffering gives victims a “moral edge” or moral superiority.
This is basically a romantic view of suffering that treats victims of abuse as one-dimensional creatures, as victims alone, rather than seeing them as the incredibility strong and resilient survivors that they often are. Our own need to romanticize suffering can blind us to the great strength and dignity that are present in the lives of survivors as well as to the full horror of the harm that has been done to them.
12. The suffering of women and children is random.
In his popular book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Rabbi Kushner presents suffering as a random event. While I think this view is helpful to counter the suffering as punishment and to help us understand the suffering we experience with terminal diseases and other “natural” physical ills, I do not think it is helpful for the victims of sexual and domestic abuse. The suffering in our society of women, children, and elders, like that of Jews, lesbians, gays and people of color is rnot totally random. Rather, it is a necessary consequence of a sexist and exploitative patriarchal system that dehumanizes women, trains them to be willing victims, and blames them when they cry for help.
13. The suffering of individual women is a result of choices they have made.
While the suffering of women as a group is not random, the suffering of a particular woman is. What this means is that there may be no final explanation for why a certain abuse happened to this woman, and not to her sister or friend. In other words, we must be extremely careful not to blame for the suffering that she experiences individually because of the exploitative system that exists in our society.
Reprinted with permission from Marry Potter Engel, Ph.D. in Creating Peace: Encourage to Change (Family Peacemaking Materials for Clergy, Lay Leaders, Staff & Laity)
Anoka County Faith Community Peace Initiative 2000, Anoka County , Minnesota .

Saturday, May 31, 2008

How has recovery been in Indonesia?

The problems in China with their recent earthquake makes me wonder how Indonesia and also Pakistan have fared.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gwen Olsen and psychiatry

Indonesia has been through so much trauma that it is helpful to look at ways drugs may be less than beneficial if side effects are ignored. Something that can be very helpful for detox is kudzu, (Harvard alcohol studies) as well as Robert O. Young's discoveries and books. His products are not necessary but are helpful, in my experience.

Music can be helpful, and there is a new sight for on my "Links" for relaxing to music.

I also have another for drought with ideas from Brian Fagan.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Islands disappearing in Indonesia

It sounds like the sound of a catchy tune, Islands in the Sun, lost beneath the waves, what can man undo?