The Old Days

By Golden Jayson Gijan

Growing up in a place where people could interact with nature and benefit from it sounds fun and fulfilling, a paradise. People would irrigate their fields using the natural water systems. People can fish from these from rivers. People can do laundry and have some fun during dry season by bathing in the river. Often times, you would see people hanging out just to have some fun swimming. Every weekends, there would be a laundry party mostly dominated by women.

I grew up in a village in my province in Surigao del Sur. Back then, there were water system supply in the village but only a few could afford it. Water is part of the daily needs because it is used for cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. So what the people did back then was to find ways on how to fetch water. By using spare iron sheets, people fold it lengthwise with enough space to catch the rain drops. The iron sheet is then aligned with the roof’s edge and supported by two Y-shaped strong slender tree branch. When the rain falls, the water will go down the roof and fall to the inclined, folded iron sheet. The water will eventually drift and fall into a container placed at the bottom. The container, usually drum barrels, are placed with filters on top using clean sack and tiny-holed net. The water is now drinkable. Thanks to the filters.

When doing laundry, the water in the container may not be enough. It is also difficult to rinse off the remaining soap residue using the rain water. So, people would carry their used garments to rivers to do the laundry. People usually do their laundry on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Women are mostly likely the ones to do the laundry because their masculine partners are working in the farm. During Saturdays, kids can help their parents on house and farm chores since there is no class. Meanwhile, Sunday is considered ‘rest day’ in the Philippines. During Sundays, families go to church, groups of boys and girls have fun swimming in the river, collecting fruits or just strolling around to find something useful and rewarding.

Yes, I can say a lot. I’ve had incredible experiences back then. The bitter taste of rainwater, the fresh feeling when you emerge from under the river, the fruits and all those fun stuff are really amazing. It’s sad that the new generation today cannot fully enjoy the things that the environment can offer compared to those old times when we cannot see or notice the changes, or the damage perhaps. Global warming completely dries the rivers in every dry season. During rainy season, the inadequate trees surrounding the water systems gave way to flooding. Rivers are no longer teeming with life. No fun, no fulfillment, it’s no longer a paradise.

If we people change our ways, we can preserve or perhaps, save our environment. People in the developed countries may not notice the connection between nature and the people’s lives. But here in developing countries, we are depending on it. We survive by interacting with the environment. We can’t just take everything for granted. We need to turn back and do something. Every single, simple way to lessen the impact of human civilization can be an enormous driving force towards environment regeneration if the human civilization, as whole, do it simultaneously. Let’s do what we can do so that the future generations can still enjoy the paradise we’ve experienced in the past and today

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