Hours before anyone knew about or understood the overwhelmly destructive approaching power of the Indian Ocean tsunami, members of five indigenous tribes on the Indian archipelago of Andaman and Incobar islands fled to the safety of the highlands.
Ashish Roy, a local environmentalist explained, "They can smell the wind. They can gauge the depth of the sea with the sound of their oars. They have a sixth sense which we don't possess" (The Dallas Morning News, Wednesday, January 5, 2005--10A).
Talk about the benefit and wisdom of paying attention to local intelligence!
Smart community developers learn quickly the importance of paying attention to local leaders.
If you want to know the truth of a community or a neighborhood or a grouping of people, consult indigenous leadership. Take local leaders seriously.
It has been our experience again and again at Central Dallas Ministries. If you are really concerned to know and to learn, ask and trust the locals! As a matter of fact, if you aren't prepared to trust, just don't ask.
Missionary approaches don't work very well with people, at least not for very long.
Trusting people, valuing their insights, their experience and their knowledge is what friendship and, thus, community life is all about.
I am thankful members of these ancient tribes escaped the devastation and horror of the tsunami. I regret others did not have the benefit of their wisdom and counsel.
The Messiness of Ministry
20 hours ago