In July, 2023 four international Helpers from area 3 (Kohar, Joan, Halinah and Illène) visited eight cities and most groups in Colombia. We received the support of dedicated National Helpers who accompanied us through most of the trip. Immediately after the visits to groups in Colombia our Dewan visited three groups in Mexico. Earlier in April Kohar and Illène visited three groups in Bogota and the Bucaramanga group. What follows is a short report on the visits:
After an evening in Bogota we flew to Popayan. This is a very harmonious group. For eight years they made dinners on Sunday nights at a restaurant owned by a Subud member and saved the profits to buy the land. They then built during all of one Ramadan their first house of adobe and guadua. Later they built a larger and more beautiful house with support from the MSF. (Our short visit included a large Selamatan, personal, group committee/dewan testing.We were impressed by the participation of young Subud members, and the happiness we experienced throughout the visit. The latihan is strong and the group will likely continue to grow.
We drove together to Cali in a rented car with 2 national helpers and the Chilean National helper and her son. Our visit to Cali started with an elegant lunch given to us by one member and then a Selamatan at the Subud house. The next morning we led awakening, personal and group testing. The afternoon was devoted to supporting the Committee and the Dewan in reaching agreements regarding the maintenance and building of a roof over part of the Subud house. Kedjiwan work was followed by separate conversations with the Dewan and committee. We ended with a joint planning meeting. National helpers from Colombia provided assistance to this process which is ongoing.
Another interesting drive up the Colombian hills brought us to the Armenia group. We met at the Subud House which was purchased with support from the MSF.. The group is small (16 men/women). They get together three times per week and have good attendance. General Latihan was followed by general testing. During our meeting with the members, we learned the group needs to repair the walls in the Latihan hall due to humidity. The group is coordinating fundraisers and doing what they can to keep their large rooms that include a kitchen and two baths in good shape.
Zone 8 Meeting Amanecer International Foundation
Amanecer is half an hour from Armenia. We had 4 nights there for the Zone 8 meeting that brought together 200+ helpers, committee and regular members from Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador. Deepening the practice of the Latihan was the center focus of the gathering.The gathering also provided a good chance for our Dewan to work with the youth, the Wings, committees, helpers and to learn about crisis and mental health. There were 2-3 openings of young members. We worked with National Helpers of all participating countries, and led pre-test for Zone 8 and other roles.
The nearby town, La Tebaida, has a close relationship with Subud Amanecer because the center provided housing for many months to La Tebaida citizens whose homes collapsed in the 1995 earthquake. (The Amanecer Grand Salon and smaller hall designed by Aaron Muchtar Martins survived because it is made of guadua, a flexible tree similar to bamboo.) The mayor of La Tebaida attended a special concert by the town’s youth band in the Grand Salon. Not only were we impressed by the quality of the music the children ages 7 to 17 made, but we all danced with delight and with the mayor. The Fundación Amanecer fixed the small kiosks and bathrooms that are used primarily for children’s programs to be ready for the gathering.
Costa Norte (Cartagena/Barranquilla/Santa Marta)
Subud Colombia has brought together members living in three different cities ( Santa Marta, Cartagena and Barranquilla ) under the Caribbean region. This was the first time international helpers visited this region of Colombia.we started our visit in Cartagena with group Latihan and testing. The day after, we traveled to Barranquilla where we met with most of the active members of the region. A young woman, daughter of Subud members, was there that day. And the brother of one of the members who drove us to Barranquilla became an applicant and we all celebrated his 41st birthday Our Dewan led awakening and personal testing prior to driving back to Cartagena.
We flew to Medellin for a very productive visit with this large group with a large hall they have owned for many decades. Arsad Medina ( Zone 8 Treasurer) and his family. us in their wonderful and peaceful home where we stayed for two days enjoying wonderful food and beautiful birds in between our latihans and testing sessions at the Subud hall which is a traditional 100 year old Colombian home that has a long central patio with skylights. Our visits to the group were full of music, food, Latihan and testing. We were able to work on strengthening the local dewan, individual and group testing. Our last night ended with a large Selamatan accompanied by Colombian music.
Medellin Subud group
Photo is at the Medina home with the whole family, all in Subud and Manuel Potes, the KC for Colombia.
Cúcuta- Pamplona & /Bi- national gathering Colombia/Venezuela
We flew to Cúcuta for a Bi-national Gathering (Colombia and Venezuela ). None of our dewan is allowed by our countries to enter Venezuela so they traveled by bus to meet us at the Colombian border. Many traveled as much as 48 hours. The Colombia-Venezuela integration and love was palpable and the meeting a huge success. We met at the Subud House in Cucuta and witnessed how hard the committee is working to make improvements to the property. They had repainted everything to hold this binationaly gathering.The group sustains itself in part by renting the front of the house to a business. They have among their plans, to build a second floor and rent rooms. Latihans were very strong. Our Dewan worked in supporting the emerging committee in Venezuela as well as supporting the helpers.We also worked with helpers and committees from Cucuta and Pamplona, another city about 3 hours away. Colombia is a country of volcanic upheaval and mostly hills to climb up and down.
Our Dewan was in Puebla for a day and a half. Joan and Illene had arrived earlier and had done work with the harmonious women helpers and group. Puebla is one of the most vibrant groups in Mexico. This visit had lots of personal testing. During this meeting we had the opportunity to work with the national committee and help them agree on a national Kedjiwan gathering they were planning. Also, the group planned a large Selamatan to re- open the Subud house after the pandemic for twice weekly latihans and the women come also on Wednesday mornings. The gathering took place despite a huge rainstorm.
We arrived in Tlaxcala in the evening after a 60 minute drive. We were received by the group with a Selamatan. One of the ladies was waiting to be opened that evening, so the women made that their first task. The opening was followed by a Selamatan celebration and general Latihan. The next day was dedicated to Kedjiwan activities with an emphasis on awakening testing and work with committee and the Dewan of helpers. We departed that evening for Mexico City.
Medellin Subud group
This photo of Kohar, Joan and Illène shows the adobe bricks made by hand by the Tlaxcala group members. Both Joan and Illène had attended the grand opening of this hand built Subud home in 1999 as part of an Americas gathering. The male KC, Ramon, is in this group as well as one of the women National helpers.
The oldest woman helper, Karima, is 95 and tests with the group every weekend. The woman KC for Mexico is Maria on the right in front.
The Mexico City group has a good number of women and only a few men, but they are dedicated. One man drives 2 hours to come to Latihan from Toluca. The latihans are in two small rooms that each have a bathroom. The group is looking for a house they can buy and have been saving money for many years. We did a lot of awakening testing in our two days with the women.
When Joan and Kohar left Illène returned to Puebla for some emergency dental work and had another 8 days with the group there and lots of testing as well as a return visit to Tlaxcala for more latihan there and a visit to the Guadalupe hospital built and run by a Subud couple. Lupita is the woman physician and her husband Sergio helps to build the hospital and its furniture and makes all the sheets and gowns by hand in his sewing atelier. Both their sons and the sons’ fiancées are doctors and work in this community hospital that has eight doctors on staff and many specialists on call.
Dr. Lupita with her Guadelupe hospital in the rear corner with 2 stories being added. The Subud house is the building with two red round pointed roofs in the center background.