I Am Because You Are 因為你是你

Home 愛。女孩 I Am Because You Are 因為你是你

因為你是你 | 那些跨越國界的努力
I Am Because You Are | Love beyond borders

七月中的紐約正值盛夏,聯合國廣場周邊人來人往,其中不乏參與聯合國永續發展高階政治論壇(High-level political forum)的非政府組織人員與各國代表。受世台基金會(STUF)之邀,愛女孩計畫也第一次進入聯合國總部,分享在烏干達翻轉女孩生命、透過布衛生棉執行婦女培力的經驗。除了透過周邊會議簡報分享,會議室外也有許多組織擺設靜態展覽,呈現世界各地對於實踐永續發展目標的努力,十分精彩。然而在整趟聯合國參訪的行程中,我印象最深的是在論壇之外,與明愛會聯合國常駐代表喬(Joseph Donnelly)對談的那一個小時。

It was midsummer in New York. The streets near UN headquarters were busy with constant flow of people. Among them, many were NGO workers and government officials who came for UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Invited by STUF, Love Binti had also been presented in the UN for the first time, sharing the experience of empowering women through reusable sanitary pads making in Uganda. Aside from presentations in the side events, there were also exhibitions set up by a variety of organisations outside conference rooms. The forum was pretty informative and interactive, showing the efforts that had been made around the world to achieve sustainable development goals. Nevertheless, during the visit to the UN, what particularly struck me was the talk with Joe, Caritas Internationalis representative to the UN, outside the forum.

與聯合國大廈對望,喬小巧溫馨的辦公室位於教會中心的十樓,牆上貼滿海報與相片,每一幀背後都是一段盪氣迴腸的故事,標示著喬踏遍各地的旅程與為了自己的信仰價值一生堅持不懈的奮鬥。當世台的執行長向喬介紹我們,他說:「這些年輕女孩從烏干達來,她們選擇待在那裡做很有意義的事。」喬微微挑起眉毛,回應說:「烏干達?我也曾待過好一陣子。」接著,他分享了他與烏干達的故事。這些故事使我熱淚盈匡、激動不已。

Opposite the headquarters, Joe’s office is in the UN Church Centre. In his small and exquisite office, all the walls are decorated with photos and posters. Each of them marks a soul-stirring journey that Joe has gone through for his belief and faith. When the CEO of STUF introduced us to Joe, he responded, “Uganda? I’d stayed there for a while.” He then shared his stories in Uganda, which would later on make us tear up with mixed feelings.

對於許多曾駐紮烏干達的非政府組織工作者來說,十年前才宣告終止的北烏干達內戰是所有人的共同記憶。五個月前是我第一次造訪北烏干達,比起南方發展更落後、基礎建設更缺乏、識字率更低,都是曾受戰火摧殘留下的痕跡。內戰期間,北烏干達失去了一整個世代,孩童無法正常接受教育,即使躲藏在家中,也經常遭反叛軍綁架,強制編入軍隊變成娃娃兵。當時許多去到烏干達的非政府組織人員,都是為了投入北方的人道救援工作。終於,二十多年內戰,在多方人馬的努力下看到了一絲轉機,喬也是其中一位無名英雄。他持續不斷與坦尚尼亞前總統姆卡帕(Mkapa)聯絡,請求他與反抗軍進行對話,開啟協商可能。在後來反抗軍與政府的和談中,反抗軍領袖要求的中間人其中一位便是姆卡帕。最後,烏干達北方八十多萬名孩童的性命因此被拯救,能夠平安回歸校園。喬輕描淡寫地說完這個故事,他謙卑地說自己只是剛好能扮演其中一個小螺絲釘、見證這樣一件美事,真正走上談判桌救回孩子的並不是他。然而與喬輕輕的語調完全相反,八十萬這個數字是如此沈重。當年八十萬個孩童,他們或許就是我們在北方曾遇過的某個人,或某個孩子的父母。也是因為知曉北烏干達這段歷史,愛女孩計畫以協助婦女自立的方式加入重建北烏干達的行列,逐步在北方擴點。

For many NGO workers who used to be stationed in Uganda, the civil war in North Uganda which had ceased ten years ago was a collective memory. Five months ago, I visited North Uganda for the first time. I could still see the difference in development between the North and the South. With lower literacy rate and poorer infrastructure, North Uganda remains more impoverished till now. These are the traces left by the war. During wartime, North Uganda lost a whole generation. Children were forced to leave schools for their safety. Even when they stayed at home, they were often abducted by LRA, the rebels, forced to become child soldiers and kill. At that time, many NGO workers went to Uganda for humanitarian aid in the north. After more than twenty years, the turning point of the war finally came with the great effort made by various parties. Joe was one of the unsung heroes. He constantly contacted Mkapa, the former president of Tanzania, soliciting his support to initiate peace talks. In the later on negotiation between the rebels and the Ugandan government, Mkapa was one of the mediator that the leader of LRA requested for. Eventually 800,000 children were rescued and sent back to schools. Joe put the story lightly. He stated humbly that he was just able to play a small role in the whole action and witness the miracle. He was not the one who sat at the negotiating table to save the kids. Nevertheless, despite Joe’s light tone, the weight of 800,000 was unbearable. Those 800,000 children could be anyone or any kid’s parent that we had met in North Uganda currently. It is also because of this history, Love Binti has joined the effort of rehabilitation by assisting the women to reach self-sufficiency. The project has gradually expanded in different parts of North Uganda.

談起了婦女,喬接著分享另一個震撼他小小辦公室中所有訪客的故事。這一次,場景轉到了中非共和國。當時喬參與當地的教會聚會,在那男性為主的場合,他瞥見了角落一抹佝僂的身影,一位老婦人。在所有人爭相發言的時候,她不發一語待在角落,她像是一尊被刻意忽略的破花瓶,握有權力的男性們偶爾看向她的眼神帶著輕蔑,彷彿婦人能旁聽聚會已經是他們所能施與最大的恩惠。喬對這個情景感到困惑與荒謬,那時他還未得知在當地文化女性的社會地位低下,而如老婦人一般喪偶的女性更是被當作破鞋,被夫家趕走,也回不了娘家。不只是在中非,肯亞、烏干達多數部落也有相似的文化。我在肯亞的朋友尚培孩提時正是因為父親辭世而和母親一起被趕出家門,最後流落街頭。無法置之不理的喬決定和老婦人說話,她叫做艾黛兒(Adele),因丈夫逝世而被剝奪了自己在這個社會的身份。喬向我們重述她那令人心痛的控訴:「我先是一個女人,又是一個寡婦,我什麼也不是。告訴人們,我不屬於我,我不屬於我丈夫,我並不屬於任何人。我單單屬神。」感慨萬分的喬牢記她的話語,離開中非共和國後,他在緊接而至的聯合國會議向多國代表分享了艾黛兒的故事。他所認識一位位高權重的男性,也在聽了這個故事後忍不住流淚,甚而改變了他的行事作風。這位男性的妻子在後來某天很感激地告訴喬:「謝謝你告訴我丈夫這個故事。他以前從不願意聽烏干達婦女的意見,他只和男性對談,但他現在會傾聽婦女的聲音了。」艾黛兒的故事,改變了遠方的人,也深深撼動了我們。

Talking about women, Joe then shared another story that struck everyone in his office. This time, the story happened in Central African Republic. Back at then, Joe was in a local church meeting. In that occasion dominated by men, Joe spotted a decrepit old lady at the corner. When everyone was trying to have the floor, she quietly stayed aside. She was like a broken vase, deliberately ignored by the crowd. The men in power sometimes shot glances at her with contempt, as if the fact that she could stay inside was already an incredible grace given by them. Joe was confused by this absurd situation. At that time, he had not yet realised that women had lower social status in local culture and a widow like the old lady was even treated as torn shoes, being kicked out from husband’s family while not accepted by maternal home. Not just in Central African Republic, many tribes in Kenya and Uganda share similar culture. A friend in Kenya had also been driven out of home with his mother when his father died. Unable to ignore the lady’s situation, Joe decided to talk to her. He found that her name was Adele. Her identity in the community was deprived because of the death of her husband. Joe repeated her aching, bitter assertion, “I am first a woman, second a widow. I’m double nothing. Tell people that I don’t belong to anyone, not myself, not my husband. I only belong to God.” Joe kept her words in mind. After leaving the country, he shared Adele’s story with people all over the world in a meeting of the UN. A powerful man that he knew also couldn’t help but cry after knowing the story. The other day when the man’s wife met Joe, she told him gratefully, “thank you for telling my husband the story. He never listened to the women in Uganda. He only talked to men. But now he is willing to know women’s opinions.” Adele’s story has not only moved us deeply, but also changed people’s mind, even when they never met her in person.

「所以教育和賦權予女性真的至關重要。」喬以此肯定愛女孩計畫的努力。女性的聲音應當被聽見,在撒哈拉以南作為主要家庭照顧者,婦女們如同大樹的根,當她們能夠深深扎入土壤、根基穩固時,她們的家庭、甚至整個社群才有繁盛的可能。「可惜的是,越來越少人願意去關心國界外的事。」喬話鋒一轉,說起在促使眾人關注人道議題的同時,他的朋友們逐漸頻繁的提問:「你為什麼要去關心不是我們國民的人? 」在目前看來日益分化的世界,世界各地的人們以各種各樣的方式,透過種族、宗教、國家這些標籤去和外部的人切割,自己所屬團體的利益優先。我們在築起一道道的高牆,自掃門前雪,休管他人瓦上霜。然而同在一個星球上,哪一件經濟、文化、環境大事的影響力會因為人們畫的虛擬界線而不跨境影響他國?人類,究竟有誰能置身事外?

“So educating and empowering women are important.” Joe affirmed the effort of Love Binti with this sentence. Women’s voice should be heard. Being the major family caregivers in sub Saharan Africa, women are like the roots of a big tree. It’s only when they can take root with a firm foundation that their families and even the whole communities can thrive and prosper. “It’s such a pity that less and less people are willing to care what happens outside their own country.” Joe switched the topic, saying that when he urges people to care for humanitarian affairs, more and more friends asked him, “why do you care about people who are not of our nation?” In this more and more divided world, people use a variety of labels, such as ethnic groups, religions, and nationalities, to fence off others, while each group may think that their benefit is the most important. We are building high walls. We only see our own needs while ignoring others’. However, as we live on the same planet, which big event of economy, culture, or environment would confine the influence within the virtual borders drawn by human? Who could really stay away from all the things happening on earth?

喬停頓了一會,看著我們微笑說:「然而我很高興還有人和我有著相同的理念。我很喜歡屠圖大主教經常提起的概念:烏班圖(Ubuntu)。我之所以為人,是因為你是你。(I am because you are.)」作為曼德拉之外,另一位來自南非的諾貝爾和平獎得主,屠圖大主教口中的烏班圖闡述的是非洲許多班圖語系部族的待人接物之道。烏班圖高舉人與人間不可切割的連結,事事與人共享,一個人的人性來自於認知到其他人也擁有同樣的人性,一個人的心與他人的生命緊緊相連。因著烏班圖精神作為基礎,屠圖主教在反種族隔離的抗爭中,呼籲不同種族間的和解和寬恕,也是因著這些努力他獲得和平獎。

Joe paused for a moment, looking at us with a smile and saying, “I’m happy that there are still people who share the same faith as I do. I really like the concept that archbishop Tutu often mentioned, Ubuntu. It means I am because you are.” As the other receiver of Nobel Peace Prize from South Africa, the archbishop values the spirit of Ubuntu that represents humanity. Ubuntu holds aloft the indivisible bonding between human, sharing with others everything you have. The humanity of a person comes from the acknowledgement that other people also acquire the very same humanity. A person’s life is tightly connected with others’ lives. Based on the Ubuntu spirit, the archbishop called for the reconciliation and forgiveness between different ethnic groups during and after the anti-apartheid movement. It was also because of this effort that he was awarded the Peace Prize.

相異的膚色、不同的語言,但我們的生命其實也是這樣和非洲的女孩連結在一塊。就像艾黛兒的故事可以感染千里之外的你我,在這樣對話的過程裡面我們何嘗不是作為人而成為一體,去肯定她的價值。在烏干達、在肯亞,成千上萬的女孩也在尋找這樣價值,你是否會願意伸出手幫助她,聽聽她的故事呢?

Although the skin colours and languages are different, our lives are also connected with African girls, as how Adele’s story can move each of us who are thousands of miles away. Her story resonates with our feelings as humans, and we recognise her value as a human. In Uganda and Kenya, countless girls are still seeking this recognition and value. Will you be willing to reach out to her and listen to her stories?

在即將離開喬的辦公室前,一轉身發現椅被後的黑白照片呈現的正是一抹抹十年前北烏干達孩子的笑容,攝於古魯(Gulu),那是進入南蘇丹的最後一個補給站。明明身在紐約,然而所做的、所經歷的一切卻都跟烏干達、非洲有著千絲萬縷的連結。也是因著許多人的努力與協助,我們才有辦法千里迢迢從東非、從台灣來到美國,分享愛女孩故事,也聽見別人的故事。愛女孩和舊鞋救命所有計畫之所以能夠推動,是因為數以千計來自世界各地的人基於相同的理想一起努力,我們無意間已經在實踐烏班圖的精神了:

Before leaving Joe’s office, we found that the photo right behind my seat was shot in Gulu, the last supply station in North Uganda before entering South Sudan. Kids are smiling joyfully in the photo. Even though we were in New York, everything we did and experienced had all linked back toward East Africa. It was also because of many people’s help that we could come to the U.S. to share the stories of Love Binti as well as hear others’ stories. Since the very first day, the achievements of Love Binti and Step30 have relied on the effort of countless people who share the same faith. Inadvertently, we are already on the way of fulfilling Ubuntu spirit:

 

我之所以為人,是因為你是你。

I am because you are.

 

連怡涵 |  NEW YORK July 2018

=============================

❤️贊助愛女孩:https://goo.gl/bXvGYC

🌍布衛生棉募集:http://lovebinti.step30.org/tw/making-sn

Leave a comment