BETWEEN FRIENDS: The many faces of interfaith dialogue in action PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 June 2014 11:13

By Fatima Pir T. Allian

“There are no accidents,” Shifu said to Oogway.  “ Yes, I know. You’ve already said it twice.”  Oogway responded, “that was no accident either.” “Thrice!”, said Shifu. “One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it. There are no accidents,” answered Shifu with a smile on his face.  That is just one of the lines I love in the Kung Fu Panda, an animated movie in 2008 about kung fu, sacrifice, discipline and love for others.  Those lines definitely is very timely  with kindred spirits whom I have not met for many months and one whom I have been with for the first time and fell in love with our friendship.
Maximillian “Max” Larena is an MD but chose to do his post-doctorate degree in Sweden to be full-time Medical Researcher. Thru our good friend Paul “Popoy” Adolfo, we were introduced together with Virgilio “Leng” Mori from Tawi-Tawi.  Max research is very interesting-Genomic Characteristics of the Filipino People. This research uses mainly saliva of IP and Moros in some parts of the Philippines.  This study will trace the genomic identity, migration history, and interrelatedness of Filipino ethnolinguistic groups. The study will provide an “anonymized database for future genome-wide association studies of specific health conditions, and establish a resource for medical practitioners in the future practice of personalized medicine.” Despite his success Max has not forgotten his country and continuously finds ways to help his country he loves so much. After all he is a proud probinsyano from Gensan who enjoys eating at carinderias and listens to stories of people from all walks of life.  Mary Grace Dacuma is also another scholar taking her PhD at the London School of Tropical Medicine. Her study focuses on Malaria. Despite the small allocation of budget and the not so encouraging words from of her colleagues that Tawi-Tawi should not be included in her study because of the peace and order situation, she refused to back down and continued her passion to help the Moros. Now she has more than 1,000 Moro blood samples in her laboratory in London! While Popoy on the other hand has been in love with the Bangsamoro people. His passion has always been to help in whatever capacity and give back to the people. During his stint as program manager of the Magbassa Kita Literacy for Peace and Development, he was gracious to all the provincial colleagues and immerses himself instantly in the communities. The people welcome his genuine love for them and his aspiration for peace and development. Finally, Leng  a  registered nurse chose not to leave the Moros and focused on community work. He is very committed and sincere in his work and believes that people in the local areas should be empowered to decide for their own good. Leng firmly belives that the  people in communities know what they need. Those from the outside need to listen to them and help them but in an empowering action and not dole outs.
Sometimes we ask ourselves , why did we meet this and that person at some stage in our life? What was the purpose  of that dialogue? The mighty character of Oogway was right all along that indeed, there are no accidents. I am happy to call you my friends! “O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow the right guidance and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do.”( (Qur’an 5:105)