The weavers of Salingan

At the end of a windy track in amongst rice fields as far as the eye can see and copses of palm and mango trees, we arrived into the little community of Salngan. There are 585 people in 92 bamboo and thatch homes scattered in glimpses randomly among the trees along with tethered cows, goats and of course, chickens.

Outskirts of Salingan

There is great fanfare. The people come out and meet us in a courtyard under a giant mango tree. We are served buku juice and fruit. Four colourfully dressed women come out to perform a dance for us. They are laughing, goofing off, and teasing each other.

It is a thriving happy healthy community. But it wasn’t always like this.

One by one the women stand and give their testimonies. There is lots of laughter, a few tears. They tell how six years ago the village was aimless and poor. No sanitation, little education, no economy, malnutrition. The villagers sat around under the same tree, bored and purposeless, often gambling away what meagre cash they had.

Mrs Zenit at her loom

Our hosts today are Taytay Sa Kauswagan (TSKI)  a local Christian microfinance  organisation dedicated to spiritual transformation and human development. They began work with the folk of Salngan in business mentoring, leadership development, skills training and small loans to absolutely transform this community. A loan of $120 built them a community hall and a weaver’s loom. Today they have 18 looms and a booming industry as weavers of beautiful cloth. Kids are fed and educated, the people are working. They have a child care centre and community meetings. They even built a road through their village. It is a shining example of transformation.

Not an optical illusion

I bought a 4 metre length of beautiful and intricately woven fabric , hand woven on the loom next to me. It took a day to make.  I asked how much: $8.00.

TSKI have 200 000 clients.

6 responses to “The weavers of Salingan”

  1. portablepeopleproductions says :

    I just wanted to press smile instead of a ‘like’ because your smile says it all Pete. Such exciting discoveries you are making. I can see a school safari coming on. Just take JSZ with you too. He would love it. Toosey,
    PS tell Meredith she is bloody amazing. Chicken dancers of the world unite.

  2. L & P says :

    Wow, 3rd person Pete! What are you planning to make with your 4 metres of fabric? We just love the way you bring your experiences to us! Thank you!

    • downeyphilippines says :

      Thanks. Why, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl. Probably though a table runner. They also had this insanely fine see through fabric with intricate designs but it was made out of pineapple leaf and i don’t think Aussie customs would be happy. as opposed to “customs’ here. On arrival, I just walked through, because the customs agent was texting.

  3. Eric Fleming says :

    Heard there was an earthquake near the Philippines last night R u guys OK?

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