I had a very memorable experience last week. Our office conducted a training on Mushroom Production at Malaybalay City. It was supposed to be for Agricultural Extension Workers of Bukidnon. But Lo and behold, a couple from a neighboring region arrived to attend the training. They told us that they have long been interested in attending a training on mushroom production and mushroom spawn making. They have been surfing the net and infact got in touch with some private trainors. Two experts offered to come to their place but would require quite an expense on the couple’s part. They were hesitant to spend so much when all they wanted to do is just produce at backyard production scale although they would like to share the technology to other families. They have been into training for agriculture and livelihood as part of their religious activities.
That was when they saw our website and the schedule of training. They emailed our office informing us that they are interested in mushroom production training. As a web adminsitrator, I answered their letter three days late since I was on travel to remote areas for the whole week. I told them that I would inquire for training schedule on Mushroom Production in their Region and would keep them posted. Apparently, they haven’t read my email. They decided to go to Bukidnon to attend the training especially since the wife, a teacher has free time to travel as it is still summer vacation. When I talked to them during the training, I asked for their travel time and they informed me that they travelled for 12 hours from their home to Cagayan de Oro City and another 3 hours to Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. All in all they spent 15 hours travelling just to attend a 3-day training where they didn’t know anybody. They are not also familiar with the venue nor the conditions for the training. Infact, they were discussing the possibility of sleeping in the police headquarters if the training venue doesn't have accommodation. Anyway, the Provincial Agriculture Office of Bukidnon who requested the training readily offered 2 of their slots for the training to the couple.
They were quite shy in the beginning because they realized that they were the only ones from another Region and that the training was conducted for Agricultural Extension Workers. However, the management, speakers and co-participants all went out of their way to assist them. They said it was a new experience for them to attend a training which is really informative and hands-on. They also appreciated the fact that everyone made them feel welcome.
I admire the couple's determination to seek knowledge. I just hope we have more farmers who will do so. We welcome this despite the hassles of adjusting the list of participants or even the food just to accommodate walk-in clients. This is also the time where I feel that what we are doing in electronic extension is making a difference in other people’s lives.