by: Eliza Acode
While there is so much to share about my recent involvement with Pueblo Science, the experience as a volunteer instructor made me realize a lot of things.
I always mention to people how I enjoy volunteerism. It affects how I view the society I would like to be in, and inspires me contribute to it in any way I can. As the only undergraduate student volunteer from University of Saskatchewan during Rural Initiative for Science Education, RISE 2016, it was an eye-opener for me to be working with professional scientists from University of Toronto and University of the Philippines, local host schools, local teachers in Philippines, and especially the children in different towns and provinces.
Teaching Science to Children in Tribal Villages
In Davao, we travelled by vehicle and hiked up to a mountain tribal village to reach the Bagobo tribe of Davao del Sur in Mindanao. It felt surreal to encounter an indigenous tribe in Philippines since I have only learned about them through textbooks when I was in grade school. After hiking up the rocky trails in the middle of banana plantation, we were welcomed by the Bagobo children who danced for us and offered us wildflowers that they have picked. Aside from meeting their notable Datu or chief, I had the wonderful opportunity to teach science magic tricks to the children of the village.
When I first got involved with Pueblo Science, I asked myself what it would happen if real-life applications of science is brought to the Philippines. I was very thrilled to be part of teaching science in a more engaging way, especially to children using simple household materials that are easily accessible.
The hands-on workshop in Davao City, Iloilo City, and Puerto Princesa with local teachers gave me insight on the education situation in Philippines. I was overjoyed when these amazing teachers showed a keen interest in all the experiments and tricks that we shared. In addition, they expressed how they could not wait to incorporate and deliver hands-on learning to their students.
An Incomparable Sense of Fulfillment
I firmly believe that the engagement, spirit, and motivation of students are driven by how teachers deliver their teachings and knowledge. Seeing the enthusiasm in all the people during RISE 2016 encouraged me to stay involved in future. Significantly, each participant’s willingness to improve science learning will definitely trigger the enhancement of science education in Philippines. The sense of fulfillment in accomplishing the workshops is incomparable.
I am sincerely thankful for being considered to take part in this program and commend the whole Pueblo Science team for coming up with experiments and reaching out to make RISE program possible. I highly recommend this work to anybody who is passionate about STEM and would love to be part of an amazing advocacy. In addition, there is the undeniable opportunity of traveling. You will never know what and where life can take you. I am so glad I had that conversation during a pizza break with Mayrose Salvador and other volunteers during Pueblo Science’s exhibition at STEMFest 2015 in Saskatoon.
As I was based in Canada, the possibility of traveling around my home country, the Philippines, initially got me interested in volunteering. However, the purpose for this travel was the greater reward, and I am grateful that I took up this challenging venture. More importantly, I met such humble and genuine people that without a doubt, have impacted and will continue to impact my life, and inspire me to be the best version of my future self.