|Hulas, an occasion for “welding” youth and parents in Upper Pulangi|
|Wednesday, 23 November 2011|
The latest Hulas (training and formation program) activity undertaken in ESSC's Bridging Leadership in Mindanao project provided opportunities for Pulangiyen youth to learn technical skills on sewing, masonry, carpentry, and welding.
It also provided their parents occasion to understand their children better and their activities in Hulas.
This is the fourth Hulas training held from 12 September to 10 November 2011 and 17 participants from the communities of Barangay Mapulo, Barangay Busdi, Sitio Nabawang and Sitio Bendum joined this Hulas batch.
Surprisingly, welding emerged as a popular skill and favored by most of the fourth batch of Hulas trainees even if this was the toughest skill to learn. Welding is the process of joining metals, applying heat and pressure to achieve melting point. As a labor skill in the Philippines, welding is not as common as carpentry or masonry because welding involves knowledge in electricity, the science of fusing, and proper use of its machine and other tools.
As Hulas activities ran for only two months, the training sessions were taught in a speedy and compact manner and the youth participants were asked to maximize their time in learning the new skills. The welding training period was only for a week and the trainees continued to learn and work even during evenings to be able to finish their individual projects. On one occasion, one of the Hulas trainees, 21-year old Robert Camahay, shared, "Bisan pa nga mapula sa mata ku daw masakit gayud ta ulo ku, ta paburitu ko gayud hayan sa pagwelding. Isab isabun ku pagpractice hangtud sa mahuman ang hulas." (Even if my eyes are already red and I already have a headache, welding still is my favorite technical skill. I will do welding over and over again, as often as possible until Hulas ends).
During the family night, two parents compared the experience of their children in Hulas to that of "welding." They pointed out two things they observed and realized.
One is that like the steel that was formed into a gate or sug-angan (a cooking top used in the traditional way of cooking with firewood), their children in the last two months were also carefully re-formed into individuals with a deeper respect for themselves. The Hulas batch of young adults is now expressing their dreams and hopes for their personal brighter future and growing in gratitude for their life and loved ones and are learning to appreciate the gifts of the environment. During one of their breaks, some participants expressed this appreciation by planting and orally sharing the environment's importance to their peers. They are learning to dream bigger for their communities and outside of themselves.
Secondly, parents of Hulas participants are challenged to bond more closely with their children to strengthen their learning. Like the fusing of two metal rods in their children's welding projects, these parents need to be "welded" with their children and take greater responsibility in encouraging and supporting their children as they return to their homes. The application and sustainability of their children's learning will only be as strong and productive if the parents continue to guide their children in their work, one parent noted.
If the Hulas participants are like their "welding projects," they are still a work in progress as two months of modular training and preparation for leadership is a short time, but is a beginning that they need.
The intention is to provide capacity creation and building opportunities for these young adults who are not in school to become better and more informed and more capable to take part in community affairs.