Last Village Visit

In less than a week, I will be leaving this place. It would be the end of a most memorable season in my life. Normally, for closure, I usually sit down and reflect on what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown, where I’d go from here, but these days, I’m finding it hard to do. Perhaps I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet. And so, I put it off until I find the absolute urgency to do so.

I visited yet another village today, and it is most likely the last one as I count down the days. We stopped by to drop off some food for this family. The father just suffered a stroke and is now confined to a wheelchair. The village had been closed off for a few weeks because of flooding, so we brought vegetables for them to eat. Before cooking them, the grandmother of the house cut off the roots from one of the vegetables. She took these roots to the backyard and planted them. I watched as she expertly used the hoe to dig the ground and carefully placed the roots at just the right depth. She also took a bittermelon we brought over, cut it open, and took out the seeds. She laid them out under the sun to dry. I think she plans to grow these seeds as well.

planting

As with all my visit to the villages, the family treated us hospitably, insisting that we stay for lunch. They prepared all kinds of food. While waiting for the water to boil, the grandmother sat chatting with us. When I asked to take a picture with her, she obliged and was happy to do so. She reminded me of one of the characters I wrote about in my book. I’m really going to miss this place.

posing

The husband had come back for lunch and was preparing the food. In this culture, the man usually does the cooking. He prepared several dishes and was particularly eager for us to try the eggs from their free-range chickens that they raise and sell. Everything on the table was fresh food from the farm. He was still in the kitchen when I took this picture.

partaking

Sometimes, I embarrass myself when I eat in the village because the food never fails to ratchet up my appetite. I end up eating more than I usually do when in polite company. I wonder if it has anything to do with the natural farm environment. I learned later that our village hosts actually consider it a compliment when we eat more, which alleviates my guilt some. I’m really going to miss these village visits.

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