Taiwan: Paying it Forward in the Rice Fields

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In early April, a friend of ours was a little behind in his rice planting.  This man has been a great friend of ours over the last few years and has helped us out in a number of ways and so recently, he needed some help and we were glad to return the favor.
And so, on one cold rainy day in April, my daughters and a number of their friends jumped in and went to work in the rice fields. 
Most of the planting is done with a tractor.  I wrote about this back in 2011 where I described the vehicle and process of rice planting.  What I didn’t mention in that article is that there are areas in the rice paddies, odd-shaped spaces where a tractor cannot go.  I guess we would call these “The Final Frontier.”  Well, maybe not, but the idea is that in order to maximize the crop yield, these odd-shaped spaces must be filled with rice seedlings.  If the tractor can’t go there, then they have to be planted by hand.
For one person, alone, this can be time consuming back breaking work, but for a group of young people with energy to burn it can be knocked out in a couple of hours.  Most of them had never worked in a rice field in their lives.  Three of them even grew up in countries where rice is not a major crop.  If I had to guess I would say that some of them have never done any “blue collar” work in their lives.  But they showed up and planted by hand and finished the job in about three hours.

I think rice fields are magical.  As the rice grows and fills in the spaces between seedlings there s something about them that just appeals to my sense of the beautiful.  They look like a perfectly manicured lawn.  All the grass, rice is a grass is at the same height and it waves in the breeze, like ripples across a pond.  The color is a beautiful emerald green.  My family thinks I’m nuts, but I just appreciate the beauty in farmland and it truly is beautiful in the fields in rural Taiwan.

Chris Banducci
Chris Banducci is a pastor and missionary in Taiwan. He has, at other times of his life, been a white-water rafter, rock climber and adventurer. He left the corporate world of Solid Waste Recycling in 1996 and went into full-time ministry, where he pioneered a church in Riverside, California for the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship and is now engaged in the same endeavor in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. He writes on the culture, religion, tradition, and day-to-day life in Taiwan. Twenty-six years of living with Muscular Dystrophy may have weakened his muscles but not his spirit.
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