Nepal 2016 — Getting Down and Dirty on our Home Stay
By: the Amazing Grace
“Picking rice in the fields is a therapeutic process. First you pluck the rice from the mud, small clumps at a time, until you’ve gathered a small bushel. Then you plunge it into the water repeatedly, occasionally slapping it against the terrace wall to clean the roots of residual mud. Then you do that again, and again, and again until you’ve cleaned out at least 10 terraces because Nepali farmers don’t mess around. The work isn’t hard, but it is very repetitive and tiring.
The monsoon harvest is demanding, and I certainly wasn’t ready for it. However, I loved the feeling of the cool mud coating me up to my lower calves, the warm sun shining on my arched back, and the satisfaction of tying up a clean, fresh bushel of rice.
Next, we hurled it down a few terraces below us to transplant it. If you haven’t already planted rice for at least 5 years like everyone else I was working with in the fields, aside from my roommate Defne, you better get out of the rice fields. The Nepalese women plant rice at the speed of light. They filled five terraces in the time it took me to fill one, and even that one was barely finished.
I have the utmost respect for the women in my host family. They do this monotonous farming work day in and day out, with no complaints, only hard work.