Back to School

This past week has probably been the most exciting week at FNRI. On Monday Kate and I went to help set up another exhibit at the World Trade Center of the Philippines. This expo was a good deal larger than the last one, and many of the different divisions of DOST were represented, each with a very cool exhibit and activities. There were VR goggles at one booth, and stormchasing equipment, and displays about earthquake prevention and volcanology. There were exhibits related to health, as well, and that is where we were to be posted. That first day was just set-up, so there were not many people and none of the exhibits were actually open. On Wednesday, we went to the Daang Hari school in Taguig City to conduct pre-testing of educational modules. The modules consist of a lesson plan and materials to teach lessons on nutrition and health. Kate and I were split up and put into smaller groups that each visited a different classroom.

Seeing how elementary education is handled here in the Philippines was fascinating. Our students were second graders, and they already started learning English last year! When the teacher would teach them the core concepts and vocabulary of the different foods mentioned, she would do so both in Tagalog and English. I took the opportunity to learn some more Tagalog while the instructor was teaching vocabulary, with the help of Faye, one of my coworkers from FNRI. The children were not shy about staring at foreigners, and insistently asking me “Kuya! What’s your name?” (Kuya means elder brother and is a respectful way to address someone you do not know if they are older than you. Similar to “Sir” in the USA. The word for an elder sister is Ate) and other questions in Tagalog, despite my inability to understand.  The next day, we went to Calauan in Laguna to a rural school. The differences between the urban and rural students was fairly stark; the urban students were considerably more noisy while the rural students were quieter and better behaved. Every class is different, however, so I cannot draw any conclusions from these observations.

On Saturday, we finally went to the World Trade Center to help run the exhibit and it was considerably busier than the Megamall, and there were quite a few more people there than Saturday.  It was a very busy day of making sure the brochures were distributed to as many groups as possible (until we ran out). Everyone wanted a copy of every brochure we had, so it was actually tougher than it sounds, particularly with the language barrier present. Overall, the week was over fairly quickly, and considering all of the activities we did, we were barely in the office!

This past weekend we went to Boracay, which was a good deal busier than Puerto Galera. I understand why, because the beaches are even prettier. Boracay definitely had more in the way of shops and beachside restaurants than Puerto Galera, and it was fun to shop and eat along the beach.

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