Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thung Kba

DSC04013A few days ago I went with my friend Ruhi to their rice field ('hali') where they were finishing planting their first crop of rice, now that the rains have arrived. I was interested to learn how to plant rice, and to learn more about the process, as it's one of the many things I've never done before. Rice is a pretty big part of life around here, as it's the main food crop, and knowing the process of rice farming gives me a better understanding of Pnar language and culture.

DSC03919When we arrived, work had already started. One of the guys showed me how to run the plowing machine that turns the soil to allow the water in and make the paddy field the right kind of mud for planting the rice seedlings ('kba'). After plowing, they showed me how to plant rice ('thung kba'), which refers literally to the process of punching your hand into the mud with a few seedlings so that it sticks. I was pretty slow compared to everyone else, but they humored me and seemed to be glad/surprised that I stayed and worked until all the paddy fields were planted.

DSC03962It was a lot of fun, and it's been awhile since I've done that kind of work. It's back-breaking, particularly for someone my height, and reminded me of some of my days in construction. There's something about hard, physical labor that I really enjoy, maybe because you can see actual measurable results. And it was lots of fun because everyone was talking and joking and laughing. It made me wish I understood and spoke more Pnar so I could join in.

DSC04006After planting was done, we hung out by the little house the farmers use during planting time and as they are preparing to plant. It was good to relax and share a meal after a day of hard work and sunburn (at least on my part). Here's a picture with the whole group.

I've got some video, but the video site I use is down at the moment, so I'll upload it when I can and link to it on here.

EDIT: Here's the video below.

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