On the way to the Living Land farm, one of the two Australian women in our group asked me why I joined the tour given that I’m from the Philippines, a country with resources to cultivate its own rice. Truthfully, I admitted that:
(a) I’ve never been to a farm. Well, at least, not to an organic one. My dad is in possession of a piece of land but he grows mangoes as a hobby and I’m pretty sure he uses methods that are quite industrial.
(b) In all the outreach programs I’ve had in high school and college, there weren’t any options to learn rice farming for a day.
Mr. Laut Lee (in photo) picked every single person (ahem, me), couple, or family up in our respective hotels promptly at an agreed time. He came in a tuk-tuk large enough to accommodate nine people. The farm is located at Ban Phon Vang which is approximately five kilometers from Luang Prabang’s hub.
I observed that to ensure that the farming activities are qualitative for its participants and adequately spaced, each group consists of only ten people or less. While the other tourists (in photo above) were already out in the sun, my own crowd is inside the hut, readying our tools.
And learning how to weave.
Hold your horses. Obviously, this isn’t mine.
I gave up after knotting three strands. 🙂
The real fun began when I met Elsa, a six-year-old who hails from England. She held my hand and we dove our feet into the mud, laughing our asses off. To this day, I haven’t forgotten what she said to me: “Look, I can make the mud fart with my foot!”. 😀
Together with her parents, Elsa traveled to Luang Prabang with her seven-year-old sister, Ruby.
A clear profile of Ruby, making flour.
The sisters took turns riding Susan the Buffalo.
They remind me of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield of Sweet Valley Kids. Elsa, of course, would have to be “Jessica”. And not because she’s younger of the pair either. 😀
If I were to pick a favorite, strangely enough, I was thrilled to pump juice out of a sugar cane. 🙂
We passed a jug of juice we squeezed while munching on treats made out of rice and swapping insights on our day in the farm. When it was her turn, Ruby declared, “I will bring my children here.” We all burst into laughter and even more, when her mum replied, “Well, hopefully, that won’t be too soon.”. 🙂
I caged my emotions when Elsa gave me a parting gift. Like everything else in this world, I was aware that it wouldn’t last long so I committed the token to memory. 🙂
Other shots on Living Land: