Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Art of Planting Rice

I'm on the island of Sulawesi, one of the more than 10,000 islands that are part of the Indonesian archipelago, and one of the country's provinces. The island is K-shaped, and currently, we are about halfway up the vertical line of the K, high up in the mountains, where the Toraja people live.

It took almost nine hours to drive here from Makassar, the capital, but the journey was a beautiful one, for the most part.

Once we entered Tana Toraja, we stopped and watched a community plant rice. It seems like quite the process: prepare the muddy soil (burn off the stalks from the previous harvest, then plow the soil and finally, tread through the mud barefoot), separate the bunch of seedlings, and painstakingly plant them.

It's a community project, and seems to be done with much joy!

The green on the left is rice that has already been planted

These tufts of green are seedlings that had been grown for the past month

A Toraja lady. It's hard to imagine that she can look so happy after an entire day of back-breaking labor!

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