Seen in a Rice Paddy

I am still plowing through memory cards from the recent trip to Rongshui County, trying to get at least a few shots processed before I am forced into overdrive trying to finish up the piece on the retired opera performers.  I am sharing some more shots today from the rice paddy and then tomorrow I’ll try to write more about our Miao village experience to include some images from that stop as well.

You might remember from the previous post, that after some initial hesitation, Bob and I traipsed right into the middle of the rice paddies.  I nearly fell into the drink twice.  The sight of two large laowai with camera and bags in tow was cause for curious glances and the  occasional chuckle that comes from a good inside joke.  Still, as curious as these folks obviously were, they never stopped working for more than a second or two.  There were friendly, smiling but they were all definitely focused on the task at hand.  It’s hard, backbreaking work.  I was struck by the sheer size of the workforce and the range in age.  There were teens as young as 14 or 15 on up to some elderly ladies who must have been well into their 60’s, perhaps even older.   This foot belongs to a young girl in her 20’s, caught as she was trudging out of the paddy to get more seedlings.  Yes, her foot looks like it belongs to someone much older.  Like I said, it’s punishing work.

Paddy Pedi

Paddy Pedi

This stout mud-spattered young man had spent the morning on the business end of a water buffalo.  A small group had gathered  at one end of the field under the sparse shade of a few trees and there was a fairly heated discussion going on.  Probably about whether or not they could get away with taking our cameras and chasing us away back to the car.  I kid.  I kid because I love.  Actually, I have no idea what they were talking about.  In this minority controlled area of Guangxi, the local dialects are impossible for me.

Jackson Pollack in Guangxi

Jackson Pollack in Guangxi

Here’s one of the many elderly women we saw that day, she’s headed back to the fields here after her lunch break.  The women were almost all dressed in a similar way, with longer slacks they would roll up before heading into the field.  Younger girls favored t-shirts instead of blouses and all the men had on shorts.  I am always amazed by the elderly women of rural China, they show a vigor and vitality of western women half their age.  In the two large fields we stopped in, I estimate the ratio of working women to men was about 2 to 1.  Maybe that’s not representative of China as a hole but that’s what I saw on this day.

Hi Hoe!

Hi Hoe!

No more time now, I have to get out and run some errands, fighting the Labor Day Holiday crowds in the process.  I broke my glasses a while back and I’ve been too busy to get a new pair, so today is the day.  As usual, I’ll take the camera along, just in case I come across something.


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~ by Expatriate Games on May 1, 2009.

5 Responses to “Seen in a Rice Paddy”

  1. I like that one of the old lady walking away. Like you, I am always amazed at the strength, agility, and stamina of the elderly here in China, especially in comparison to those I know back at home.

    Beautiful shots, Michael!

  2. Wow Michael you will be able to see after fighting your way through the May Day crowds… be careful you are a little bit accident prone! We love your pictures and the relevant stories. Maybe you could get a translator in remote areas, could be a lot of fun! Three cheers for the women working, keeps them healthy and outside in the fresh air, hope it is fresh. We have had some much needed rain and it seems to be making me sleepy… til next time, keep cam and self safe… and the new specs!
    Big hug, CB

  3. These are amazing. As usual, you allow me to peer into a world so far from my own.

  4. Nice moments..explains a lot!! All very well here.. Nice to hear from you again after such a long time. How have you been?

  5. Some hard workers there. Great images as usual.

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