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Feeding the Family

In the "Cult of Escapism": Feeding the Family

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Feeding the Family

One family will have dozens of pounds of rice to feed them for up to eight months thanks to my selfless, dedicated hard work. Or they will have dozens of hopelessly mutated, yieldless rice plants and wonder why they ever let the gringo on the farm.

Today (aka May 27th, when I wrote this), I spent four hours planting rice with my third host family. The work is simple, and would be easy if conducted in an air-conditioned room with plenty of clean, cool drinking water and motivational music playing overhead (like maybe Highway Star by Deep Purple). Unfortunately, we chose to plant on a large, hilly field with no shade or air-conditioning, between 9am and 1pm. One man did carry a radio but the best song of the day was a remix of a Black Eyed Peas song, which I think is called Time of my Life. Which is to say, the music was so motivational it made me want to punch myself.

To plant rice, one person makes evenly spaced holes in the ground with a stick and the rest put seeds in the holes and cover them with dirt. So each of us carried a bowl of seeds and a little stick, which Roberto (host dad) called “The Spoon,” though it definitely had no chance of putting soup in mouth.
This is actually me on a different day, not planting rice...but I'm in a field
We bent from hole to hole, putting in seeds and using “The Spoons” to cover them with dirt. Four hours of monotonous work allowed me to think deep thoughts such as, “My back hurts” or “This farm could sure use an air-conditioner” or “Why is Kevin Costner always picked for baseball movies?”

I rested more than anyone (including his 14 year old daughter) and the bowl of rice seed seemed impossibly heavy for something so small. But the work was rewarded with lunch and corn juice, which prompted Roberto to explain how to recruit farming help. It’s a three step process:

1. Ferment some corn juice
2. Give it to some friends
3. Set them loose on your field

The work, Roberto explained, is easier and the day goes by quickly when you drink chicha fuerte. That is to say, it’s easier to farm in a drunken stupor.

If only I had known. Next time I’ll bring a bottle of gin. And maybe an air-conditioning unit. 


At June 19, 2011 at 6:01 PM , Blogger Alyson said...

Let me tell you how much I hate Kevin Costner. A LOT. Movies are 100% likely to decrease significantly in quality when he is added to the cast.


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