September 2001 Edition
|"Nandeyanen" is the monthly newsletter published by our Mindoro Office.
"Nandeyanen" means "Why is it?" in Japanese Kansai dielect. It represents the sentiment of our young Japanese volunteers when they encounter cultural differences.
|Is School Uniform Necessary? (Hiro Kawashima)
My Mission (Hermie Panagsagan)
As 'Ate' of Our Scholars (Reah Barraca)
My New Life With The Association (Jossie)
One Lesson 'How to wash your hands'(Satsuki Kunikane)
Editor's Comment (Shinya Shigaki)
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Every year June is the beginning of the school year and yes, of course all of us, staffs are quite excited to see again our scholars and the new comers. But I have to begin again worrying about all the expenses for running the program. It's sad to say but true that in both June and December I always feel quite droopy and often feel jealous to see the children who are living with full of joy. For me June is for supplying "damn uniform stuff" and December for "damn gifts"! I tell you the truth. I really hate uniform and this is the story how I developed my hatred for it.
When I entered the junior high school (in Japan Junior high school is the secondary education with 3 years and compulsory), I was just 12 years old but already had more than 5 feet tall. But you can't imagine that I only weighted 36kg or 80lb. Although I gained another 15kg or 30lb during the school days I found myself still very thin at the graduation ceremony. (Well, my height was then 5'7''). I was ever thin and had small waist that I never found the best-fit-pants for my uniform. I believed I couldn't make myself cool and win the attention of the girls because my pants always would follow the gravity and my not-so-long legs looked even shorter. I always had to pull my pants up to the comfortable position. Since then I started to hate the uniform. But there's another reason. During the junior high school days I was always chosen as the class officer or even once as the chairman of the so-called Discipline Committee of the students'organization. I was expected to be the exemplar and censor if the students wore the uniform properly and was doing well. But I couldn't stand to scrutinize my friends at the school gate every morning and became sick of exercising such police-like authority.
It was not until I came here and got bothered with supplying the uniform to the children that the memory of uniform was forgotten. Now and here again I have to tackle with this damn stuff. It's maybe true that wearing the same uniform will develop the healthy identity or unity among the members but it shall not disturb the poor economy of the parents. Uniform might even curb the schooling rate if it's forced. In some African countries uniform is abolished in the public schools and they found it effective to improve the attendance rate of schools or literacy because the majority of the population suffers from poverty and cannot afford to buy uniform. I suppose the Philippines too need this kind of drastic reform. Even in Japan uniform in the public school is not for the identity's sake but for keeping the students from being spoiled with running after fancy clothes. I will remind you that the Constitution of the Philippines sings a free education in the public school. I want to arouse the question: Is school uniform necessary?
Hermie M. Panagsagan
As you well know I'm from Calamintao, a mangyan settlement, near the river of Pagbahan. I'm turning out soon 23 years old this September. It is until just a year back that I too, was a scholar of 21st Century Association. I was just a small girl, a grade 6 when I was admitted and got a degree of elementary education at Golden Gate Colleges, Batangas last year.
I believe it's the best choice for me to become a teacher because I want to be an engine to promote the education among our people. Here in Mindoro there live an indigenous people so-called mangyan but few of them have opportunity to go to school thus can write and read. The principal reason is there are few schools in the mountains where most of them live. And they are even afraid of Tagalog or lowlander who is alien to them. Often they run and hide themselves deep in the woods when the outsider visits their places.
Very slowly though it is their life is changing now. Not a few children want to go to school and some lucky ones like me could finish even the college.
Education is the foundation of developing both the individual and the society. How we can see to it that our future is more fruitful if our own people remain to be illiterate? How we can unite each other if many of us don't know how to read and write? In fact the communication is very poor even among the mangyan peoples (there are said to have 7 different kinds of tribes).
This is my mission and obligation as a member of the association and as a Philippino citizen to encourage more children to go to school and convince their parents to give education to their children. And as a teacher I myself exercise my profession in the mountainous places where there's no public school.
I have been a person in charge of the mangyan scholarship program since 1998. I didn't have any idea about their dialects and cultures at first but day after day as the time passed I learn gradually their cultures although I still have hard time to make myself understood in their dialects. I hope I can learn them some day. Honest to say not only the children but also their parents did I have a hard time to get along with since their customs and habits are much different from mine. But now they are my brothers and sisters or friends.
It's natural for the parents to give education to their children. It's an act of loving their children, too. But mangyan parents have little to do for their children's education since they don't have enough money even for their daily food. So our association really meets their needs.
Besides their cultures I have to learn their personalities and characters. They are all different persons and it's a big fun for me to find their uniqueness. There's something, which is beyond my understanding. I often see they lack the sense of appreciation. Many don't care well their goods that are given by the association or their sponsors and not a few scholars seem not to study seriously in spite of that all their needs are well supplied. I sometimes feel that they're assuming the sons or the daughters of the riches or congressmen.
But now I'm overcoming this negative impression. I believe they're improving their way of living here. They are gradually learning how to make the things tided and clean the surroundings. Now they know many recipes for cooking. In schools they become more active than ever that I can see no red numbers on their cards.
Here I'm their big sister. I do cook for them. I do supply their daily needs. And I do give them good discipline if necessary. Sometimes I act the nurse if there's patient and act even parent to attend their PTA meeting.
Messy though it is I'm enjoying my work and the life with my loving younger sisters and brothers.
I have no doubt that the life here is very good and has no difficulty even we're from the different places each other. We are one community here, playing together and eating together. We love each other; helping and caring each other. And the best I know here is we respect each other. This is the reason why I'm at very ease and happy here.
About our study we have no problem because we have a lot of time to study (instead of engaging in other works like babysitting). Neither do we have with the daily needs. And when we face some troubles or make mistakes they (staffs) always give us good guides or disciplines so we can live without much troubles. What I had to learn first here is to get acquainted and make friends with the surrounding people.
Now I'm very proud of myself because I'm accepted as a scholar of the 21st Century Association. I don't know what might have happened to my life if I'm not here now. So thank you very much to Sir Hiro because he gave me a chance to continue my study. I'm senior now and will graduate this coming March. Thanks again for helping and supporting my studies.
'Kurikong' (or scabies) is very prevalent among the scholars today. Why so many people suffer from the skin deceases here? Do you know how to take care of your skin? O.K. I'll teach you!
Which part of our body is the most in use? Maybe our hands. When carry something, write, cook and eat, we use our hands. Our hands are good worker, but at the same time, these are sick carrier. Do you know where we get bacteria from? It's mostly from our mouth through by hands. Bacteria from our hands cause us not only skin troubles but also various kinds of deceases. You believe your hands are clean, but there are so many bacteria in your hands although you can't see them.
What did you touch just before your taking meal? Didn't you play with balls or sands or dogs? Are you sure if your hands are really clean?
You should clean your hands thoroughly with soap especially in the following occasions.
< How to Wash Your Hands Properly >
Now you know how to keep your hands from bacteria. It's easy. Always keep them clean!
See you next month...
Have a torrid spirit!
I essayed this publication to share more opinions with you. Even to provoke the hot discussions or arguments. Because I believe this kind of works will lead us build the true community, a community with openness and diversity wherein we can grow together.
I always feel it's null to be quiet. I admire the persons who have guts to tackle with his life even if not smart. Try and error is my motto. So is this publication. Come and join us! Your open opinions are wanted!
Here I want to acknowledge the writers. They sacrificed to bear this first fruit. And I appreciate their big effort. Thank you,