Becoming an eyewitness to infomediaries
By Aura Shaznay Tumulak
(Listening to a real-life infomediation action, Aura, a BS in Development Communication student of Visayas State University relates her joy of knowing how a simple child-grandparent communication can turn into something fruitful.)
“We’re going to interview the students and their parents,” our supervisor informed us. She briefed us about the research side of the project on creating climate change-ready schools.
The task was simple: to gather data in the school and in their homes. I never expected to witness so much more.
Together with the team, we interviewed students about the things they learned on climate change and climate change-ready technologies. We also asked them if they’ve shared the information to their parents, and if the parents relayed the message to their neighbors or fellow farmers. The chain goes on for as long as it can.
When we arrived to Corazon C. Aquino High School, the project’s partner-school in Tarlac, I was hopeful. I was eager to meet the students. Some of them were shy but I could see that most of them were ready to participate. I couldn’t remember all of their names but some of their answers stood out.
“I told my parents about intercropping, a farming practice where you plant other vegetables in between your rice crop to make your farm more efficient,” said one female student.
“I read a lot of articles about climate change and discussed it with my friends,” shared another.
“I talked about vermicomposting to my mother because she loves to farm and I thought that this would be a good practice for her,” another boy answered.
To hear these kids being informed about agriculture made me glad. Maybe hope the youth’s interest in agriculture will be restored isn’t farfetched, after all. Children from where I came from didn’t even know where food was produced.
Then there’s this one girl whose name and story struck me – Joyce Roll.
Joyce was only 14 when she shared to her grandmother about Palayamanan system, a farming approach that encourages farmers to diversify their crops by venturing into other sources of income.
“There’s a portion in our ricefield where only grasses grow. My grandmother asked my opinion on what to plant there. I took the chance to share what I learned about Palayamanan,” Joyce recalled.
She remembered the benefits of Palayamanan just as her teacher taught her.
“I knew such farming practice would help us a lot. We will harvest something in the long run and we can either sell or consume our produce,” Joyce added.
Her answer was simple, but the way she talked about it with her eyes full of determination as she explained the whole thing was beautiful to me.
At such a young age, she realized the importance of agriculture.
On our way to visit Joyce’s family, I was in awe. I’ve never seen a rice field as wide as that in my hometown. It was a first.
Meanwhile, the conversation we had with her grandmother, Nanay Felisisima was short but sweet. We were there to confirm Joyce’s story on Palayamanan through her.
Nanay Felisisima had warm eyes and a kind smile. She talked about Joyce and the things her granddaughter shared with so much fondness.
“I planted a lot of vegetables like sitaw, papaya, talong, ampalaya because Joyce encouraged me to,” Nanay Felisisima said.
As I continue to listen to Joyce’s grandmother, I realized the impact of the sharing activity that took place between the two. I looked around their farm and saw the malunggay trees starting to grow, the healthy eggplants, and the root crops.
Their harvest isn’t as much but they love to share what little they have to their neighbors or sell it at a low price.
When I asked Nanay Felisisima how exactly the information was shared in detail, as part of our data gathering, she remembered so little. She could only relive how these plants provided for their family. Good thing, the plants in their farm are there to tell the story.
It was an indescribable experience to see how the words of a girl can turn into a productive farm that can sustain their family. As an eyewitness to Joyce and to the other student-infomediaries, I must say it is but a fulfilling role.