A renewed spirit and energy in 2023

Pedro Walpole SJ

It has been a slow start to the year with all the rains of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and growth is slow in the garden and for trees planted, but we move on with a good chance of a few thousand seedlings this year. More importantly, the children and youth are now looking forward to an academic break.

APC students working on the school farm

The Grade 12 program includes an internship with the Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC) every Thursday, and it is wonderful to see the energy the youth have in helping the school and the community. They are presently reclaiming the old garden of the grade school. The youth are also opening a few plots in the community garden to get further interest going among the different families.

APC is reinvigorating its relations in Upper Pulangi, drawing from the engagements of the past few years. As society returns to a more functional, interactive norm, this is an excellent opportunity to strengthen relations in the area. This entails asking communities how they feel and what their needs are.

One path was already established with the planning of interconnected trainings and activities across various areas of work. APC is currently helping more than 350 youth in school and another 60 in the Alternative Learning System programs and on the different work teams: the Forest and Water Management Team, the Organic Gardening Team, and the Construction Team.

Mirven Sante, one of the youth assisting in the rehabilitation and maintenance of Bendum’s Community Water System, is the designated water meter reader. APC established the community water system to provide reliable and affordable water distribution services to households in the community. Today, the water system service has 25 installed water meters covering 76 homes in Bendum. The water bills are distributed on the first week of every month after the meters are read on the last day of the previous month. Every household who availed of the service signed a community agreement on the water distribution charges and payment obligation. The Bendum Community Water System, with its billing schedule, collection procedures, and community-acknowledged charges, helps to ensure the development and management of the headwaters and the distribution of clean water to the households.

Much has already begun during the first month of the new year. There are plans to rehabilitate water systems in the four villages where APC connects – Mindagulos, Nabag-o, Nabawang, and Bendum – to improve water infiltration and distribution in the community.

APC’s ongoing collaboration with Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) allows for the supervision of six to twelve new enrollees in the international professional courses for teaching facilitation, and four new enrollees in the liberal arts studies.

This year, there is a greater focus on developing youth leadership activities and exchanges in Balay Laudato Si’ through five upcoming Hulas activities.

Another effort is to hold an APC caravan twice a year as a way of reinvigorating communications in Upper Pulangi, sharing the efforts of APC, and fostering a sense of cultural interaction and exchange. This allows us to distribute local language publications in communities where Pinulangiyēn is still spoken.

We are hoping that there is continued interaction with APC and that at least some of you will visit. I wish you the best of luck in your efforts and hope you find the support and encouragement you need to build relationships in your talēgan, community, and land, as well as care for the life around you.

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