TP, Steel Museum, Mineral Museum, Youngstown State University, Michael Alberini's
I woke up with a big headache. I slept but had to wake up at least three times knowing that I was to be on my toes today. First Team presentation and at least a hundred Rotarians from the district welcomed us! Great. It went well – no major blunder. People were so business-like they accomplished so much in an hour.
After the meeting, we drove to the Steel Museum. It was history-laden, and it triggered thoughts about how greed for material wealth could actually corrupt minds and bring about revolution in many facets of society at the same time. I guess Jonathan, our tour guide, did a neat job by humanizing the tour experience for us. Apart from showing the implements and rudiments of steel industry evolution, he presented the historical and social milestones that brought about the rise and fall of steel industry in Ohio. That was clever.
Youngstown State Institute made me see the disparity in educational opportunities between this country and the Philippines. In truth, it made me feel so poor and imagined what our brilliant students back home would be like, given chances as opulent as this! Somehow, this experience summoned more compassion in me because I felt my own students could really go far and big, if only they would be provided their educational needs. My students are less confident and competitive and global because they are too confined. Maybe they do not dream much because they do not see much. Maybe they do not strive hard because the world they live in does not require much. These opportunities, this extravagance, this modernity, this advancement – they are non-existent in most of the universities in the Philippines. My heart went out to so many bright students in my classes who patiently listened to my lectures while enduring the buzzing sound of jeepneys or fanning themselves to death. I was disheartened to realize that the three model rooms I fought so hard for to give some of my students a state-of-the-art condition were nothing but garbage compared to what students in this part of the world experience. While enjoying the magnificent sight, I was grieving inside. Life is not fair. I now wonder whether it is still just to exact blood from our students to make them learn when the system is not able to provide enough. I now wonder where the hell others get the nerve to dampen the spirit of students whose souls are already crushed by the hardship of simply being physically present. I now wonder what step to take to at least give one or two of my promising students the same wonderful experience, so that they too could dream the dream for others. It is sad to note that at this point, I could only but watch and wonder.
I brought these thoughts at Michael Alberini’s where the food kept coming… and I hardly swallowed them. The wine was bitter, as my heart was.