Friday, June 14, 2024

Egg-based Mosquito Repellant

By Junelie Anthony Velonta | The Sillimanian Magazine

A few years back, I was approached by a middle-aged chemist. We were planning a science outreach at the time, and the chemist said that he would like to apply his knowledge at the event. Nobody knew the guy. He was, however, nice and enthusiastic enough, so we gave him a chance.

As we prepared for the program, he would go on about how he wanted to empower the local citizens, mentioning that he once participated in the projects of the Magsaysay Awardee, Dr. Romulo Davide.

Now this struck close to my heart. I’ve had the chance to meet Dr. Romulo Davide himself. His life’s work has revealed to me what a scientist could be—no, should be. Though his field was in Biology, he was one of the factors that made me pursue Physics as a college student. With Dr. Davide as a mutual inspiration, I knew that the chemist and I would be good friends. 

Mr. Chemist was a smart man, although most of his time was spent in the laboratory or facing a computer screen. Though he knew the language, he did not speak Bisaya well. His brain worked at lightspeed though. Whatever thoughts he had in English, he translated into Bisaya with the speed of a charging bull—and the carnage of one.

After weeks of laboratory work, he came up with a certain “egg-based mosquito repellent.” Such usefulness out of something common: nothing less than a breakthrough! 

Presenting it to the community, however, was another problem. He insisted that he present his product himself. It was his work after all. Communication is a skill that very few in the STEM fields learned and no amount of YouTube tutorials made one a better presenter. It’d be good practice for him.

The faces of the audience contorted into question marks as he taught the community how to make his mosquito repellent. He tried to speak in Bisaya, to his detriment.

Amidst the confusion, and with a loud voice, an elderly woman asked him what he really was making. He tried to explain but nobody understood. He froze for 5 seconds; his eyes glued to the sky. And like the flash of lightning, eureka!

With triumph in his voice, he proclaimed:

Katol nga itlog.”

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