Explore #56 on Friday, May 22, 2009
Hmong, Sapa -- We are planting the Rice now.
Two or three rice shoots would gently inserted into the soil paste, spaced 6” (15 cm.) apart, in straight rows.
The rice planting season is now in full force and everyone is in the fields working in the labor intensive process. Unlike what many of you may think, it’s a happy time for the Hmong, when families and friends work together. They chat and laugh and you will never hear a complaint or rarely see a sign of hardship.
It’s a thick paste in the paddy, you sink slowly and feel the earth squeezing through your toes and wrapping you. You kind of slide into it and the same when you make a step in reverse, like a wet warm sock. You feel really connected and one with earth. It’s a balancing act to walk the narrow and slippery edges.
The Black Hmong are the 3rd largest minority in Vietnam with nearly 900,000 people. In the Sapa region there are about 35,000 residing in the surrounding 17 villages and they account for about 50% of the area population. The Hmong started migrating to Vietnam from china in the last 300 years. They live of the land and believe in the spirits.