Rice is an essential foodstuff in Madagascar. Its popularity hints at the Malaysian roots of the Malagasy people. While four types of rice are grown, it's white rice that is most widely grown and eaten. Early in our trip, we drove through the green rice fields of the region between Tana and Antsirabe.
Rice planting is staggered so that the fields ripen at different times during the winter months when the rains mean water for flooding the fields is most abundant. Digging the fields, planting, weeding and harvesting are all done cooperatively, which is important because rice cultivation represents an immense amount of work. In the country, the sense of community is very strong.
Below, rice dries in the sun.
Dorique suggested we stop for a closer look. Then he suggested Rob try cutting the rice. It's not as easy as it looks. I think the farmers were rather amused by our interest.
I didn't want to get into the squishy rice fields so I opted to borrow a basket of beans and practice my skill at carrying a load on my head. I think in time I could get onto it! The trick may be to use the basket a lot and keep it soft so that it molds to the top of your head. Anyway, I got a laugh.
One of the great things about our trip has been opportunities like this to connect, even for a short time, with the Malagasy people.