Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sticky life, sticky rice

Cutting sticky rice.
When we were enjoying Beer Lao with Vik and Steffan, Kong Ma, local person approached us. He told us briefly his life story:

When he was young his parents died and partially he was  brought up in a monastery. Than he joined American army where he was trained as a nurse. When Americans left, he was arrested as a traitor and spent 3 years in the prison. Now, he has a farm where he grows sticky rice. He invited all three of  us to visit his farm. It happened that his farm was on our way, so we joined.

Kong Ma's grandchildren on the field.
From Vientiane we went to VangVieng from where we had 40 km more to Kong Ma farm. I decided to bicycle there on Lisu and Vik and Stefan rent a motorbike. I started much earlier than the guys, but at the end we both reached the farm the same time.
Kong Ma has a huge family and most of his children have his own families.

Hiding grandchildren.
Some lived in the same village, and some lived in the same house. We met there also Alec, family friend from Uruguay. Eight years ago Alec was hitchhiking through Laos, and Kong Ma gave him a lift and invited to stay for the night. Alec feel in love with this place and people so much that he is coming back very often for several months and he feels as a part of family.

We were luckily enough that we came to the farm during harvesting time. All family members were cutting the rice in the field and we also tried to help a bit. It is quite difficult to cut sticky rice properly and efficiently, especially when it is very sunny and warm. After the work we got a gulp of LaoLao vodka made from sticky rice. There were huge bees in the bottle in order to add to the flavour to the drink...

LaoLao with huge bees in the bottle.
In the evening we were offered delicious meat from wild pig (the best meat I had in Lao) and I played with Kong Ma's children: granddaughters and grandsons. Initially they were very afraid of us and were hiding. But after few hours I played clapping games with them and I tried to teach them few English words. Lao children are soooo coooool.

Later we drank a few Lao beers and a bit of LaoLao. Kong Ma, thanks to the training in American army, is also local doctor.

Kong Ma, our great host.
Village people can not afford going to a hospital or to the doctor. Kong Ma buys medicament in neighbouring Thailand and he is curing people from different infectious and diseases includes malaria. I have seen few times people traveling on the motorbike with the drip. And I was surprise that one can get a drip outside hospital. Intravenous therapy is the most affective way.

Sticky rice is very sticky.
People like Kong Ma are applying drips, helping with the child birth, treating malaria saving lives in a very rough conditions.
I left him some of my drugs.

In the morning we went back to the field to help a bit there. We also got a duck for a lunch. Vik is a vegetarian but he said that he would eat meat from the animal that he would kill himself. He never had a possibility to kill animal so he did not eat meat. And that day he used an opportunity to eat this duck. Now he is planning to go fishing.

The best of all was the great atmosphere in the house and in this big family. Everyone there was so warm and friendly. Just sticky family relationship as sticky rice. Amazing family. Great host.

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