I think Nepal is the country of rice. They eat it twice a day. They grow it everywhere and basically every farmer has at least one rice field.
July is the time of the year where the rice gets planted, and since I am currently staying in a village in Nepal, I get to witness this process every day.
Only witnessing however, is quite boring. Seeing the men break the mud up with their ox-driven carts and watching the women bend over standing ankle-deep in the mud to place the little green grass-like rice plants in the watery mud is only interesting for so long. So what does an interested volunteer do? That’s right. They plant rice.
So I rolled up my pants and stepped into the mud. the watery soil squishing through my feet, the water sloshing along my calves occasionally sending sprays of mud-water onto my black cotton pants. At first I stood there watching Aayusha give water to the women, but then I joined in. After all, it doesn’t look that hard.
So in the time that every woman on the field placed something like 10 little bushels within the mud, I was able to tear one plant apart from the bushel in my hand and place it in the field. I think I was disturbing the women more than I was helping. After only a couple of minutes, and a handful of rice planted later Ayusha motions me to go back home. Obviously I was not very good at rice planting.
I guess I wont become a rice farmer. I think I’ll live.
Having said that, it was actually really quite cool (to be doing that for a couple minutes). However, I do not understand how these woman can stand in the fields all day. The sun burning down, the only cool part of the body being the feet, and maybe the right hand from placing the rice in the mud. I was sweating after only such a short time. The women had been working since day break. It’ actually quite amazing.
I will definitely keep watching these completely covered up women do their work. with their colourful scarves draped around their faces so only their eyes peek out to protect their head, face and neck from the burning Terai sun. Wearing their long sleeved button-down shirts over their traditional shirts and pants to protect their arms.
It really is quite a sight.