27.01.2013 - 27.01.2013 33 °C
SUNDAY, January 27th
An early start, as Sonia and I are being picked up at 7:00 to go to the farm. A quick breakfast and a shower, then bicycle to the orphanage for pick up. Our taxi was waiting, and soon we started our 2 hour run to the farm. ($7.50 each!). We were dropped at the path off the highway that led to the farm. 20 minutes walking, and 3 correctly chosen forks in the road and the farm came into view. We met Savon, who told us that the kids were working here and there. We all walked together until we saw a group of the boys, forking hay onto the top of a large farm truck. The hay is the chaff from the rice fields. We caught up with them and they enthusiastically greeted us. Soon the truck was piled high with straw plus 6 guys riding on its top. We watched as one of the boys drove it over the rough ground, the truck dumping a heap of hay each time it went over a bump. We could hear gales of laughter moving farther and farther away as the truck headed to the barn.
We continued our walk, past many of the rice fields. The pond teeming with small fish was pointed out as we passed one of the rice fields. Tiny fingerlings are introduced when a field is planted with rice. Three months later, when the rice is ready to be harvested, the fish have also grown to a usable size. The fish are then caught and brought to market and the rice is harvested.
In the distance we saw a group of girls. They had a hand-cart that was loaded with buckets. When we caught up, we were offered “cow pizza” which they later called African pizza. Cow patties are collected, to be used in the planting they had undertaken. Young mango trees were being planted at about 20 or 30 feet apart along the sides of the rice fields. Some of the girls dug and loosened the ground around the mango tree. Others shoveled in some chicken manure, plus a cow pizza or two. Straw was put on the surface for mulch and then a bucket or two of water was doused on the new sapling. In the hour with the girls, around 30 or more trees were planted, which makes for 100 trees planted in the 3 hours they worked.
I came back for the performance, later, as my time is running short, and I love to spend the evening sitting with the kids as they watch their friends do an amazing performance. This evening’s performance was particularly fun. Bunling played the King Monkey. The older girls were nearly crying with laughter as he danced and hopped around, making his appeals to the princess of the river. They explained to me that he was being very funny. I think some of it is that he is 18 years old and very appealing.