Rice planting is underway

The rains have increased over the last couple of weeks and the humidity levels have risen. This brings mixed outcomes as we all sweat that bit more and washed clothes don’t always dry (even in sunshine) but far more importantly, it allows us to plant rice on Jomp’s Farm. A good rice harvest allows us to feed all of the children for an entire year, thereby reducing our food bill and also guaranteeing the source of the food on our children’s plates. All our rice is organic and we are conscious of improving the nutritional value of food for the kids, particularly those with compromised immune systems.

Some of our farm workers were out in the paddy fields last week, but great inroads were made last Saturday afternoon as all our older kids headed out to the fields on our 12 rai (4.7 acres) patch of land. This is where Fr. Mike has his new house and it will be lovely for him to overlook the vibrant green of the infant rice crop upon his return next month. Almost 70 teenagers piled into the school truck and other vehicles and made their way to the muddy land. They were joined by our German volunteers, some guests from Louisiana and many of our staff. The girls stay covered up, even in the heat, as they don’t want the sun to darken their skin - pale skin is the fashion of the day here in Thailand.

All the workers waited for the fields to be ploughed before wading in, ankle deep in mud and water. They widened their stance, bent over and planted three or four bunches of seedlings before stepping back and doing it again. The children are dab hands at this and chatter away to each other while working briskly. Every so often, they glanced curiously at the foreigners to check that they were doing it properly, and to judge how quickly they were doing it! Usually, a couple of the kids will accompany a guest or volunteer to help them or to correct their clumsy technique. That many workers can move through the fields quickly and they finished up in a few hours. There is waiting around sometimes as the next field is ploughed and the workers grab water or sit in the shade. 

Although the kids often groan when they clamber aboard the trucks to make their way to the farm, the air is full of laughter and chat as they work alongside their friends. Especially when one of them falls into the mud! The staff too enjoy spending time with the children and everyone is conscious of the importance of a good rice harvest for Sarnelli House. There will be four to five more weeks of planting and the children will join in on Saturdays, this time for a full day! We will keep our fingers crossed and pray for good rains, so that the paddy fields remain full and the rice grows tall and strong this year. 

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