Message from the young farmers: An Infomediary’s testimony
‘Kayo po ‘yung mga bayani ng bansa’
(You are the heroes of the country)
An answer I did not expect a student would address to farmers. To hear this short message from the youth made me forget the long trip we had to reach them. They will inspire you with their salute to their families who are farmers themselves. They are eager to help and do what they can for the future.
Being able to discover the influence of the campaign to the youth was the best part of the visit. It was vivid enough that in a short span of time, they have changed their concept of farming and agriculture. They’ve changed how they see the future of their own families and the country.
These students made me ask if I really am ready to make a move on my advocacy on agriculture. They even have more courage to take responsibility than I have. That separates them from my views about the new generation. They never turn their back on agriculture.
Unexpectedly, these young people shared quite unique stories from what we usually hear from students today.
‘My father needs help’
Mark Angelo Ramos, 14, a son of a farmer in Luna, La Union wants to pursue agriculture in college to continue his father’s endeavor.
“Yung tatay ko po nagsasaka din. Naaawa po ako kasi siya lang po mag-isa. Gusto ko po sana siyang tulungan balang araw (My father is a farmer. I feel bad because he works alone. I want to help him farm someday)”, Mark Angelo told me when asked about the reason why he wants to pursue agriculture as a profession.
That was a young but determined answer from a son who salutes his father so much. He has lots of professions to choose from but to push agriculture is a brave move for a kid.
Mark said the campaign helped him to have a firm decision on what he is going to take. Now, he sees agriculture more of a profession than a mere fight for survival. He is young but the willingness to take an uneasy track brought me to see him as an inspiration. He might not be as mature as I am but in his young mind he has already made a decision. All he needs is commitment.
It never ended with that. This kid is an advocate himself for pursuing agriculture as a profession is never enough for him.
“Gusto ko pong makita yung ibang bata na nagsasaka din po balang araw. Kung mangyayari po yun, hindi na iiwas yung mga anak nila sa pagsasaka (Someday, I wish to see today’s youth learn how to farm and actually do it. When that happens, their children will not avoid agriculture)”, the young Mark Angelo explained when asked what he wants to happen after the campaign.
“Kahit po taga transfer lang po kami ng technology ngayon, hindi naman po yun lang ang kaya naming gawin (While we are only serving as mediators in transferring technology to the farmers now, we believe that we can do more than that)”, he said referring to his classmates and friends in school who are part the campaign as well.
He is such an example. I look forward to meeting him someday with his fulfilled dreams and hopefully success in his fight for his father and agriculture.
From talk to walk
“Noon po kasi wala kaming ginagawa, puro lang salita (Before, we talked more than we acted)”, John Lester, a Grade 11 student of Batac National High School exclaimed as I asked what were the changes throughout the campaign. Although it was uneasy for him to deliver thoughts in Tagalog, I know he was trying his best for me to understand his point.
Lectures and exams are not enough for him to learn. He wants action. He is someone who is not contained with the classroom setup. He is brave to tell me that their school had lapses before. Now, he felt proud of what they already started. He feels like making a change.
“Ngayon hindi lang po namin naiintindihan. May nagagawa pa po kami (Now, we don’t only understand, we are actually doing something about it)”, Lester added.
Although Lester belongs to a farming community, he never had an interest agriculture before. He wants to be a teacher to share knowledge and make a change in his students’ lives.
“Noon po gusto ko maging teacher para makapagturo at makatulong sa mga bata. Ngayon gusto ko parin magturo pero mas gusto ko pong ituro ang agriculture (I previously dreamt of becoming a teacher so that I can teach and help the children. Today, I still wish to teach, but I want to teach agriculture)”, the student expressed his dream to teach agriculture. Instead of mainly engaging in agriculture, he wants to use his interest in sharing his knowledge to make a change.
Awarded as “Best in Agriculture” in the class, he has a word.
“Magbabago din po yung pagtingin ng mga bata sa agriculture. Nabago nga kami eh alam ko po sila din (I believe that the youth’s perception on agriculture will eventually change. It was possible for us, so it will surely become possible for the others also)”, Lester said with the hope that his dreams will help inspire other students to engage in agriculture.
The campaign’s effect was quite clear for me. These testimonies are proof of the hard work and commitment of the team. Hopefully, we will meet again with this young farmers and see how well they’d worked for their dreams.