Notes to broadcasters
People who live in rural areas of the Philippines have learned to recognize signs in nature that warn them of oncoming floods. This indigenous knowledge has become respected and extensively documented by scientists in the country. The following drama is a fictional account of a farmer who comes to be respected for his skills in predicting floods in a region of the Philippines. This would be especially useful to your listeners as part of a series of programs about how local people use signals in nature to predict the weather.
In the village of Somon, in the Philippines, one Mr. Biggie Bello, a local farmer, was an expert on the subject of flooding. When he warned that the floods were coming, the whole village listened. And he was usually right. He had lived through many floods in Somon village, and knew first-hand how devastating floods could be.
Mr. Biggie actually became quite famous in the village, and today we’re going to find out why. We meet Mr. Biggie now, sitting under a tree, mending a fishing net. But, look! Someone is running towards him! Let’s investigate.
SOUND EFFECTS:Running footsteps gradually getting louder and stop.
MUSIC AND HOLD UNDER NARRATOR.
Three days later it was still raining and the floodwaters were rising in the fields outside the village. Nobody in the village had seen the scientist for a couple of days and Mr.
Biggie found himself wondering about what had happened to him and his experiments. He was quite sure he would not see the scientist again.
But he was wrong. Several weeks later a letter arrived in the post for Mr. Biggie. It was from the Government Department of Science and Technology. Here’s what it said:
FADE OUT MUSIC.
First I want to apologize for not taking your advice. It didn’t take me long to learn that you were right about the floods. You probably guessed what happened. I lost some valuable equipment and was unable to complete my experiments so I was sorry that I hadn’t listened to you.
But that is not the reason I am writing. It is evident that you have special skills and knowledge about weather patterns and about how to predict floods in the region. My colleagues and I would like to learn more from you about how to predict floods and other weather events. Could we meet with you and some of the other villagers, at your convenience, to discuss these matters further? Please contact me as soon as possible at the above address.
Dr. Felip de la Cruz
National Department for Science and Technology
Today the ideas and knowledge of Mr. Biggie and the other villagers of Somon have become part of a national warning system that helps to alert the population of impending floods and other serious weather events in the region. So now, when the moths fly around in large flocks, and the shellfish crawl out of the water, and heavy clouds hang next to the mountains, everybody notices.
Contributed by: Jennifer Pittet, Toronto, Canada.