Rice is the basic staple of the Lao people. Besides the well-known steamed rice, which we also have in western countries, they grow the so-called sticky rice (Lao: khao niao). Growing and harvesting rice is such a common cultural practice that there even is a lesson in the English course book for lower secondary schools about this topic.
Many Laotians have their own rice field in addition to their daily profession, as does Souvanh Navong. As it is the time of the year when the rice is harvested, he invited us to visit him on his rice field. We joined him and his day-labourers, who work for 70.000-100.000 LAK (Lao Kip: ກີບ) a day, and helped them to collect the rice. On our way to his house, we found his self-made and helpful sign to guide us.
To give you an impression of how we spent this day in the rice field, we welcome you to click through our photo story. As Souvanh would say: “Normally I am a teacher, but today I am a farmer.”
All in all we harvested 600 kg of rice that day. This supply feeds Souvanh and his family (5 people) for three quarters of a year. He told us that they need approximately 70 kg per month.
Text by S. Schaefer & D. Schrep
Photos by S. Stoehrer & A. Broghammer