Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

India (Day 1, Part 2)

  Oh my too many pictures!  I'm going to have to split this up.

Back to coconut processing...

After the husks were dried out, it was time to spin them into rope.  It was a really cool process.  One woman would spin a wheel which would twist the fibers into a rope.  Other women would feed more fiber into the already twisted portion to make the rope grow in length.  They made it look easy, but let me tell you, it was NOT!  I got to try it and was quite fumbly.  I had to add just the right amount of husk fiber at just the right speed or I would get a rope with lumps, or the connection would break and I'd have to go back and start again.  (Both of those things happened.  Frequently.  haha)  

While other people were talking to the women, I needed a POTSie break so a sat down out of the way for a while.  That was when I had the pleasure of meeting this adorable little guy.   He was shy at first, but then was very excited to show me his dancing and how he could throw a ball to his grandma.  I spent a few fun minutes talking to his grandma and watching him play.  

After the coconuts were all processed, it was on to the fishing pools.  The first one we went to had mud crabs in it.  

I was expecting the little crabs I see on the beach rocks at home.  I was kind of right, but thinking about 10X too small!  After much tugging on the crab traps, one of the fisherman caught one and showed it too us.  Of course, I begged to hold it, and they let me as long as I promised not to mess with the claws.  I guess these things can give quite a nasty pinch.  In case you were curious, this was a boy crab as demonstrated by the V on it's shell.  The females have a round shape on their underbelly.  

We also saw one of the men catch some fish in another pond close by.  Unfortunately, I was too far away/POTSie to get a good picture, but I did document part of the catch.  This is what is referred to as a "flatfish."  It is supposed to be very good, but difficult to eat because it is very bony.  

Also, a potter made TWO beautiful pots in the few minutes were gathered around his workspace.

The next stop was the clam cooking area.  The lake clams were boiled until they were opened, and then the mean was separated from the shell by shaking them in a basket with meat-sized holes in the bottom.  The shells were thrown into the large pile you see in the background and would later be used in cement and whitewash for the village's buildings.  Some students tried the clams, but I was already feeling a little too queasy for that.  

The final stop before lunch was to see the palm fronds being processed.  The women would take the leaves and either weave them into large sheets (I'm not sure what they were then used for.  I'm guessing roofing or baskets?) or striped down to the tough fiber and made into brooms.

This lady was such a sweetheart!  She kind of reminded me of my Auntie Di.  During a break from weaving, she came over to me, squeezed my chin affectionately, and said, "You look India!"  (A common consensus, it seems.  I've had lots of people inquire about where I'm from because I "look Indian, but dress American".)  We had a good conversation involving mostly hand gestures, smiles, and a few words.  


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