officer happens to encounter a real humanist in action. What’s not peculiar is
that, these extraordinary people don’t even know what individuals
like them are called!
last trip to Aurora province, through an
invitation from a group of doctors/friends. As I marvel at the beauty of the very far
flung island, a two hour wavy boat ride from
Dinalungan eight hours away from Manila, I can’t
help but be in awe of the warm and friendly people of this province, most
especially the dedication of teacher Eloisa to educate the Dumagats by any
means available to her.
Some of the Dumagat indigenous people
(IP). They rarely get formally educated. Their major livelihood involves
fishing. The one on the far left is just
16 years old and beside her, the little boy aged 3 years old is her oldest
son. She just gave birth 4 months ago to
her second child.
indigenous people (IP), they are but a small mostly
isolated community. In fact, if
one wishes to go to school, a child has to
travel at least 2 hours by boat. This makes schooling almost impossible.
town of Aurora, which is Baler, would occasionally travel a total of 4 hours via land and boat to San Ildefonso
to visit her siblings at the locale. This affords her the opportunity to teach these kids basic
education, like reading and writing, at the same time.
Eloisa Delos Santos for being HAPI’s new lead convener for Aurora
asked her how she was able to perform her tasks in the area without so much as facilities
to hold lessons in, she told me that she makes use of the walls of the house and, at times, boards
and “uling” (charcoal) as writing instruments
when the chalks run out. She also makes requests
for donations of old books from
her friends in town, providing a valuable and scarce
resource to the youth of this community upon her every return. She carries
these heavy books and transports them on a boat. Some within the
community do not have much to share by means of donation, but their moving concern
for humanity is readily apparent in their willingness to offer aid. I
told her that what she’s doing is very humanistic and that she is a true humanist.
way of life and action. Helping improve human kind is the basic tenet of this
principle. I told her about HAPI and how much its members
vary across the faithful and faithless
alike. I told her that I myself am a non-believer and she was very
surprised by this. I continued saying that anyone can be a good and loving
human being even without gods to believe in. Her mind was opened, she was
surprised but she was blown away by the idea, that such a thing exists.
some of us and the possible donors are non-believers, she said yes and it will
be very much appreciated, after all, what is important is that this will help educate kids as they grow up.
send her a whiteboard and pens as initial
donations to help her in teaching these young minds. I asked her to lead
this chapter with a hope that she can continue to
improve literacy among the Dumagats. Perhaps later, to introduce even more concepts of the world,
including arithmetic, GMRC and even critical thinking.
effective schooling despite having no access to formal
schools. We have found a humanist, Teacher Eloisa, who is willing to teach them, but we’re calling on your
generous hearts now to give these kids a hopeful future
as well by supporting our wish to build them a simple and sustainable
one community at a time, through education. Help by being a part of this
endeavor. Old books or workbooks, crayons, pencil and
paper will come a long way for them. Help, contribute
and donate, let’s make the world a better place.