Newsflash - farming is physically demanding. Who'd a thunkit? Yesterday I planted basil and cut down massive amounts of it for drying. When planted in a field ( not a windowsill planter) it grows quite high and study. You have to hack at it with a sickle then prune it more than put it through a manual grinder. We ground bales of it. Today I pruned weeds, which is not technically even fieldwork but gardening. It was still very hArd on the knees and back. Elena, a yeAr long volunteer from Myanmar, says that since 'my people' are not familiar with this field labor, I should only work for half the day. Astute observation.
Jeetpol is my best Indian friend here so far. He calls me Anne Marie because apparently I look just like his white friend Anne Marie who was here last year. Now I'm sure everyone here is confused what my name actually is. He made me the best chai I've ever had - he adds black tea to hot water, basil, lemongrass, mint & stevia. Stevia is this magic sweet plant that tastes like it's leaves have been soaked in honey. It can be used in place of sugar. I'm planting pots of it when I get back home.
Last night we walked about 35 minutes to the home of bindu, a woman who works atthe farm, for her daughters bday. Literally throngs of children flocked to our entourage as we approached. They live in a small two bedroom house on the main road with about 7 people. Four of the kids kept trying to drag me away so finally I acquiesced. They took me to a temple and had me pray to each of the statues od goddesses and gods, giggling like mad whenever I would repeat after them. The kids were so happy and fun to be around.
I caught a bit of a cold last night (cow flu?) so I'm layinglow. Most of the volunteers are going to Delhi for a climate change conference this weekend, but im staying put. You couldn't drag me from here back to Delhi with 100 barrels of stevia.