Experiencing Life in a Squatter Hut (March 5)

Crystal Seto (4M23)

這次活動的經歷有採摘蔬菜,吃素採摘及自製的食物等,深深體驗到居民生活過的痕跡,例如:在泥土裏尋找蕃薯,一不小心就會將蕃薯切成一小片,掘蕃薯的途中也看見些蟲,周圍的泥土使鞋及褲都髒了。另外,我也體驗到農夫收成的辛勞,我還以為摘洛神花很簡單,但原本有很多技巧,把它剪下來就必須要剪最貼近花的位置,否則給它除核時就會有難度,洛神花的莖部很強硬,要用些力氣來剪它,不久整個身都出了不少汗水,我們只進行了一會兒,但是也感受到友疲倦,我體驗到農夫的辛勞。我對這次活動非常的感觸,很感激帶隊的姑娘、農田的街坊及老師,當地的居民十分熱情,將私藏的食物分給我們。

Sharon Ng (4M22)

在這次活動中,我們到達了粉嶺附近的寮屋,並且接觸到了當地居民,親身體驗了一下他們的日常生活。一開始進村的時候,旁邊有一些空置的土地,經負責活動的關姑娘講解,才知道是地產發展商為了霸佔土地的技倆,經相討後,允許暫時耕種,在參加活動前沒想過在香港仍有22萬人之多居住在這種資源貧乏,比較落後,交通又不方便的地方。

而今天我最難忘的算是農耕部分了,一整個素採摘到處理的過程都是由自己動手做,倒是沒試過呢!尤其在鋤蕃薯的時候,大家由一開始不太掌握技巧,到最後大家都能鋤出不少蕃薯,令我更能了解農夫的辛酸。

總括而言,這次活動能令我更深入的了解香港,以及香港人的實際生活。

Samatha Tsang (4M27)

經過這次活動後,我了解了更多寮屋的歷經和事情,我知道甚麼叫做寮屋和明白了他們的生活情況。今天,我們到達後,帶領員一邊帶我們去目的地,一邊給我們講解,到達寮屋後,我們首先分成兩組,我們那組負責採菜,另一組負責拔蘿蔔,那天天氣很冷,當我們洗完菜後,雙手也收變得冰冷,像雪條一樣,之後,我們就回到寮屋開始包餃子,過程我們也很開心,我們包的餃子各有不同特色和形狀,最後,我們終於開始吃火鍋,食物一熟後,周圍的人就立刻把食物撈起來,不停地吃……大約兩個小時後,我們吃完後,就接下來去做些有趣的事情。我們首先採摘洛神花,再去挖蕃薯,雖然有點熱,但我們枇也很享受。最後,我們也依依不捨地離開,希望下次有機會再來。

Alan Chan (4P01)

在這次的體驗中,我知道了耕種是一件不容易的事,但同時也知道沒有農藥的蔬菜比在超市買的農藥蔬菜味道好得多,我和同學們在分辨蕃薯苗的老嫩,到了最後老和嫩的比例是平均分佈的,當義工叫我們把老的那一埋蕃薯苗重分,結果是老的籃子裏只剩幾棵苗,證明我們很用心做和分心做的成果是有很大的分別。在午餐的時候,和我同桌的同學們都十分餓,每當有丸子熟的時候,都像餓狼一樣,結果我們的鍋裏剩下了一點食物,我認為我們應該食多少煮多少。到了尾聲,我們參觀了一條橋,在橋的旁邊有很多太陽能發電的燈,比市區環保多了。

Kelly Wong (4P26)

這次體驗寮屋生活,十分有意義,導師和義工都很友善,就和親朋戚友一樣,寮屋生活並沒有我想像中那麼惡劣,環境清靜和乾淨,寮屋的人關係很好,每個人都很親切友善,帶領我們體驗耕田,時間雖短,但體驗很多,明白到不勞而獲是沒有的,耕田絕不容易,很努力耕田時,結果收穫卻不多,但能在下午時吃着收穫,和一班同班女生和鄰班好友一起吃火鍋是最開心的,因為我們一直都缺乏這個機會,天寒地凍下吃火鍋是最深刻的,吃着不同組摘來的食物,那頓午餐十分飽滿,下午時,我們冒雨下到河邊,不知道在看甚麼,天氣十分冷,每個人都想快點回到寮屋,找個地方休息和取暖,我希望學校多舉辦通識體驗活動,讓我們從多方面學習。

Keith Choi (4L11)

這次活動非常特別,能感受到基層農民生活。我學會了耕田採菜,還有一些環境和植物的知識。我還幸運地看見了羊群,和享受自己辛苦切下的菜。在過程中,我發現了環境和農業的打壓和發展商的破壞,例如,有發展商為了拆掉石湖新村建高樓,不惜囤地,在農地上傾倒廢物,趕走農民,甚至囤地太久要建爛尾樓以繼續擁有土地權。本來我們今天去的農田也消失,但幸好有發展商允許路德會繼續經營營運直至發展。我發現寮屋生活不是想像中的危險,也不是政府所說的快點抉拆,不發展好。居民人情味濃,而農作物又可提高本地菜供給率,對香港也有很大貢獻,政府應多聽民意,其實有人指出有大量荒廢農地可供發展。我認為政府可先發展荒廢地區,而當沒有太多人或太少人耕作,又或者沒地方可選擇才往農地寮屋開刀。

Jacky Li (4W22)

參加完這次寮屋參觀及嘗試本地農夫的日常生活,我認為寮屋也是香港的一種獨特文化,也是香港新界區的一種特色。

經過此次的活動,我覺得香港政府在文物保育及其他政策有不足之處。香港的本地農夫越來越少,也有低學歷的人因為沒有基本滿足到食住的費用而被迫居住在寮屋,以2000元租金去租住一個不穩定而且空間小的地方去解決居住問題。由此可見,香港政府無力解決這些問題,樓價有升無跌,收入低微的市民的生活質素只會越來越差,農夫無法再繼續農夫的生活,因此導致現在的情況。

 

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International New York Times Writing Competition

International New York Times Writing Competition 2015

Education, a Human Right

by GUADIZ, Wezley John Bautista (5R07)

Education is a fundamental human right; this is because every child around the world, regardless of their race, culture, or economic status has great potential. This potential can only be harnessed and realized if those young minds receive proper education. We’re in the 21st century, and the world is as advanced as ever with many economies flourishing and countries getting more developed in general, yet, there is still a plethora of children who have yet to receive education for their future. This issue isn’t getting the spotlight that it deserves, but it will come back to haunt us if left unnoticed. The children of today will be the citizens of tomorrow, and it’s saddening to know that a lot of uneducated children, if unaccounted for, won’t be able to contribute or merge into society because they weren’t given an education. Also, the current developing countries such as Africa will find it even harder to develop as their future population isn’t educated too, and the cycle repeats itself yet again, resulting in a constant era where people have to live in poverty.

In 2012, there were more than 61 million children of primary school age that were out of school. That huge number rose to a staggering 72 million children in 2015. The reason why the figures are so high is because of the inequalities and marginalization in both developing and developed countries. Some of these inequalities include the belief in some cultures like the Arab States, central Asia and in Southern and Western Asia where parents think that their daughters aren’t worth sending to school, and instead they are told to stay home to help with the chores or do farm work. But the main cause contributing to the huge figures is poverty. It is said that there are still 1.6 billion people living in poverty. These people barely have any income, which means that it’s hard to survive as they can’t afford money for food, clothes and housing. If they can’t afford those totally basic things which are needed to survive, how can they afford an education for their children?

Most of the people living in poverty are in the continent of Africa. Some cities in Africa are severely underdeveloped and rampant with disease and crime. In those areas, there is a major lack of infrastructure which makes it hard for children to find somewhere that they can find teachers. It’s no secret that a lot of people, especially children, have died of starvation and disease in Africa. There are constantly droughts, which make it impossible for them to grow crops, and if there are crops, they are usually too expensive for the typical family to buy. As families are so focused on trying to survive, they rarely even give a thought about sending their children to school. This means that a lot of families in Africa who can’t afford food can’t send their children to school. Another problem that stops the children from going to school is that the children’s parents are likely not to have received an education in the first place because of the reasons aforementioned. This means that either the parents don’t know the value of education, or even though they are aware that education is vital to their child’s success in the future, they can’t really teach them as they may be illiterate. Some children may have been studying in a school at first, but there’s a chance that they’ll have to stop because of their health issues or do jobs to support their family.

Not only is it the problem of the individual families, the governments of some countries simply don’t put enough resources into education. This means that they are not spending enough of their money building or renovating schools and they’re also not training people to become teachers. So, even if a family has adequate money to get their basic needs and afford an education, the quality of education may not be good enough and if they are sent to those schools, they may benefit insignificantly or not at all. Those schools may not have enough teaching resources, which is a problem because children usually need some sort of mental stimulation to enhance their learning process. Another huge problem is the number of students in one class. Large class sizes cause a lot of problems. For one, the students simply aren’t able to get enough individual attention, so their problems can’t be solved and their learning process will be very slow. This is because children have different learning speeds, and if one’s lagging behind, he/she might not be able to catch up. This type of difficult teaching method can also take its toll on the teachers, as it’s hard to discipline and teach more than 50 students at once, which will lower the effectiveness of teaching.

In conclusion, this problem should be tackled at its root, which is for developed countries to help out developed countries so that the general quality of life of people there will increase and they can afford to send their children to school. Also governments should realize the importance of education and prioritize the building of schools and improvement on the quality of education. If those things become a reality, a lot more children will be able to go to school and we will be one step closer to achieving global education.