Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Harvesting rice is fricking hard work! I found myself learning this lesson in a swamp just outside of Soroti around 7:15 this morning. For starters rice grows in mud. Deep mud. Mud that tries to swallow your legs like a stoned high school kid to a bag of Doritos.  This is a completely unrelated analogy but I blame it on the heat stroke I may currently be suffering from. The heat stroke is because rice stalks are a little like skinny green razors that have the ability to hone in on any exposed skin. You have to wear boots, pants and a long sleeved shirt to protect yourself from the sharp stalks. But you are standing in sun that is beating down on you like... sorry, no more random analogies.  And if you are in Uganda, which we are, you really should add a wrap over your pants to be more like a skirt, which is more ladylike. Though being calf deep in mud could be called a little unlady like in some parts of the world- but not here. That wrap makes the whole thing you are wearing up hotter. And if you are a weak white girl you have to add leather gloves too in order to protect your hands. Then you also should wrap your head. Not because you are with a bunch of muslim women, but because you have to pick up your full bucket of rice out of the mud and carry it on your head when it gets full and needs to be emptied and who wants all of that mud in their hair?!
That is a lot of rice. 
This is what ripe rice looks like. 
Beckie and Nuru harvesting rice. 
This is the foot and a half of muck that you stand in while harvesting. 
But, it was a nice day and the sun actually wasn't as relentless as it could have been and I didn't see any water snakes.  And being reminded once again of how hard these women work for just a little income is always good. One more note on the day: one of the women that we were working with was nine months pregnant with her due date 6 days away. She cut at least double what I did and carried her rice on her head.  One of the other ladies brought along her 2 month old daughter and did some of her work with the baby tied on. As if this work wasn't hard and hot enough as it is.


shirley said...

You girls are some thing else. Wow! I commend you for what you do. Each day may you be blessed with the strength you need.

Hope to see you soon, Jennifer

cmjulief said...

Most days I wish I were back in Uganda but after reading this I am sure I could not stand up to this back breaking work and am happy to be here in Michigan. You GO GIRL!!