Friday, December 11, 2009


I was a little surprised when I saw a young student entering the school grounds carrying a small, curved and rather dangerous looking knife this morning. The fact that I blithely continued on my way to breakfast may be an indication of just how different everything is out here. Apparently my reaction to culture shock is to act as if everything, no matter how bizarre, is completely normal. An hour later, when the high school students (grades 6-10) finished morning assembly the reason for the knife became clear. A teacher informed me and Liza that we could not observe classes as planned because the students were “cutting paddy.” Did we want to join? Clearly there was only one answer. Within half an hour Liza and I were happily harvesting rice...for about five minutes. Then the student needed her knife back and proceeded to clear about four times the area in half the time. Oh well, it was a good photo op, and maybe by next harvest I’ll be bringing my own knife to school!

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