Saturday, August 14, 2010

Immersion (A Post in 3 Parts): Part 2

Day 2 (Wee hours of morning)

This part of day 2 deserves some attention for something very unusual to me happened. For some reason, I woke up at around 1 in the morning. To check the time, I felt for my cellphone which I put in the bed, to the right of my head. Oddly enough, instead of my phone, I felt something hard. I thought it was my partner's face, but I remembered that she was sleeping to the right of me. I sat up and saw, in the darkness, that there was a cat sleeping there! Right in front of my face. I know I was overreacting, but I was a bit shocked and traumatised as I wasn't too keen on animals, especially cats. I can tolerate them around me, but not when they touch me. I got my phone, and flashed the backlight at the cat, hoping it would get out (the walls of our room weren't connected to the ceiling, so it could easily climb the cabinets and get out), but it would not. I opened the lights and the door, but my partner woke up and asked that I turn off the lights (she immediately went back to sleep so I couldn't ask for help). I sat at the foot of the bed, waiting to see if the cat would jump on the bed. It did for two more times, at which point I was really terrified of going to sleep for fear of it sleeping next to me (or worse, peeing on me or scratching me!). I was awake for another hour when I saw that it was not gonna jump anymore. Still, I slept curled at the foot of the bed.
Note: Apparently, the cat was used to sleeping at the bed since the bed's original owner, Ann, was the cat's prime owner. Ann loved animals, as she also took care of their two dogs and the five (or four?) puppies. Actually, most of the residents in the barangay loved animals; almost every house I saw had a pet dog or cat.
This concludes my day 2 morning adventure, now on to the regular day 2.

Day 2

On Saturday, we woke up at 5:00 in the morning, in order to make it to our 6:30 am call time. We were finally gonna plant and farm today! Nanay Rosana prepared a pretty big breakfast for us, knowing that we were gonna do hardwork today. All of us were to meet at Mang Boy's house so we could all walk towards the field where we were gonna plant.
We were given a 1/10th hectare of land to plant on. At first glance, it looked small and manageable for all 18 of us (plus some local farmers who volunteered to help us), however, we found out thereafter that it was a very long and tedious task. All of us stood on the pilapil, anxiously debating whether to plunge in right away in the mud. The planting was full of large snails (whose broken shells could cut through your foot), and me being the very maselan girl that I am, I was very afraid to step in. Only after a few of my groupmates went did I follow.
The mud was very cold and mushy. It felt as if I were stepping on chocolate pudding. Still, it was like having a free foot spa, although it was hard to keep your balance when your feet sinks in the ground with every step. Since we weren't given any instructions as to how to go about, the kuyas and manongs were glad to assist us as we started. We were to take a bundle of rice seedlings (punla), and then plant 3 or 4 of them. Ideally, I wanted to do area with 3 straight columns to the other side, but before long, they became wavy lines. Still, I was proud that I was one of the faster workers.
We were able to completely plant on our field. It was rewarding to see our previously empty lot full of planted seedlings, that hopefully, could one day grow into palay. The heavy feeling bought about by sweat and dirt clinging to our bodies was trumped by the feeling of accomplishment we had going back home (Interjection: I actually got lost on the way home. Aileen went ahead since I stayed behind with my groupmates for some photo ops. For some reason, I missed the narrow pathway to my house since it was hidden by trees. My only clue was the number of dogs we had. One house I thought for sure was the one turned out to have three white dogs. We only had two dogs, one white and one black/brown. Thank god for those forsaken pets I guess.)
Back home, me and Aileen helped with laundry and lunch. For some reason, I had forgotten being tired from the farming we did. After the chores, I still didn't feel tired. I don't why.
After lunch, I met with my groupmates so that we could practice for our presentation later at community night. We did a musical skit entitled "My Romantic Immersion." Basically, we were going to reenact our immersion trip and incorporate a love story within. The romantic angle involved a guy and girl falling in love during immersion. However, when the girl dies (due to falling out of a window after being harana'ed), the guy then falls for his best friend. WHO IS A GUY. Yup, this was a tragicomedy all right. The comedy parts being expertly supplied by my groupmate's impersonation of our long haired and half-Korean formator, as well as by our planting choreography to the tune of Lady Gaga's "Telephone."
Before the community night, all of us had a group session with some of the people from AMTG, who gave us a national situationer on farming. It was a certainly eye-opening talk, as we became aware of the many issues certainly not reported by mainstream media. For one, my full-fledged support for CARPER has now become conditional, as I found out that it didn't fully benefit farmers. We also learned some math, as we were told of how many spoonfuls of rice was equivalent to how many grains of rice.
After the talk, we were given a full tour of the barangay, and we went to the road which was constructed by pouring concrete on 20 hectares of cultivated land. That was probably the biggest injustice that was done to the farmers. That 20 hectares of land could have put a lot of meals on their tables and a lot of means to pay their children's tuitions. However, the capitalists have again trampled on the rights of the weak and asserted their "superior" selves.
The tour certainly took its toll on my legs, for once we were back home, my thighs started to ache. We ate a hasty supper and then went back to Mang Boy's house for the night's gathering.
Community night was a blast! Our presentation was a hit, as well as the other group's dance number. I also enjoyed the "Hep Hep Hooray" game for the kids, especially when one of us impersonated Pokwang. The Pinoy Henyo game was also fun, especially when one of the pairs were teased as being bagay. Another fun moment was when the keyword was "santol" and the guesser still couldn't figure it out even if there was a santol tree right above us. It was really one fun night. :)

PS: Sorry for the grammar and typo errors. I was on a writing frenzy when I wrote all this. :)

to be continued...

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