The fieldwork on organic farming gave me a new perspective.
We went to three towns: Malinta, Timugan and Putho Tungtungin and also attended Banamos to talk to Bagong Silang Farmers.
Reaching the towns that are active in organic farming is no joke.
We did not have any idea how to reach Timugan but we still rode a tricycle and dared to find potential interviwees. The road going there is steep and the rain made it worse for us .
It is also hard to reach our key person in Malinta. We walked along a creek and with just one wrong step, we will end up in the waters.The rain in Timugan was also followed by the bright sun which did not make it easier to reach the house of our interviewee. I also remembered how we asked each other “Malayo pa kaya?” and how some answered “Feel ko nasa Calamba na tayo.“
To reach Putho Tungtungin Barangay Hall, we rode sidecars from ANSCI. Since the project leader was not there we rode a tricycle to find a farmer. Two out of the three farmers that we planned to interview were also not available. Finally, after three stops and three potential interviewee, we were able to interview Mr. Johnny Oriendo, one of the farmers in Putho Tuntungin.
We also attended Banamos because this is the easiest way we saw to reach Bagong Silang farmers.
What we went through to reach the towns were hard but our enthusiasm did not fade a bit because we are working for a cause. The experience is exhausting, yet fulfilling at the same time. We saw our experience as another learning experience.
All our interviewees, may it be office staff, organization officer or farmer, treated as well. All of them did not fail to offer us seats and make sure that we are comfortable.
Whenever we visit an office, we would all be nervous on how are we going to talk to them. But later on, these worries turned to gratefulness as all of the office staffs are accommodating. We noticed that they are really paying attention to what we are saying despite the fact that we are just students.
The organization officers were also nice to us. They trusted us with the information about their organization even without formal letters. Knowing that authorization letter is a must, I really appreciate how they allowed us to conduct interviews even without it.
The farmers were also accommodating. Some invited us inside their houses and even served food. Considering that it is our first time to meet and our interview interrupts their original plans, they still showed concern and constantly asked if we are comfortable.
Mrs. Myrna Ubaldo, Vice-President of the organic farmers organization in Timugan, seems cautious while we are conducting interviews. It turns out that there is an issue on land ownership between them and UPLB.
Mrs. Emily Alforja, secretary of the Los Banos Association of Food and Vegetable Growers, told us not to conduct interviews during the night. She requested for us to choose the appropriate time if we are going to contact her.
On the first half of our fieldwork we did not secure any letters and conducted ambush interviews.
This week we divided the tasks in order to check the confirmation of the communities if they are willing to have a partnership with us. We have talked with the farmers from Putho tuntungin, Malinta, Timugan and Mayundon who all gave positive responses. We still did not able to reach Bagong Silang. We tried to contact the number that they gave during Banamos but the key person is not answering. We even tried to message her during the week. The group decided to just go there during the weekends.
I am living my life for years without thinking of these people. Seeing how different they live from how I was raised made me see a new perspective about life. There are some people who needs to cultivate the soil and plant seeds to support their family which is very different to the life that we have. This made me realize the purpose of participatory journalism. Aside from we can learn a lot from each other, making them involved in the process would empower them and help them in their business.
The fieldwork also made me realize that we, in the academe, do not know it all. The knowledge that they have is much richer than what we read in books, thus we should treat our partner communities as equals.