One day I was kindly invited by the neighbours to have lunch. As soon as I arrived there they offered me food and let me eat before anyone else. They had cooked many dishes with the best ingredients and it surely was delicious. When something was about to finished on my banana leaf plate they made sure that I got more as much as I could eat.

Never in my life i have encountered such generosity, hospitality and interest towards a foreigner. People came even from their neighbouring dwellings to watch me and were very happy to even shake my hand. I felt myself very privileged. The only thing I could offer them was my smile and for them it was the greatest reciprocation.

I will never forget this kind gesture of these neighbors who were really happy and simply enjoyed their life in the most modest way. All the locals visiting the farm were very kind and everybody helped always each other.

In the morning for breakfast I ate the ragi porridge made from the freshly ground seeds from yesterday and it definately tasted very much better than usual.

After that I was ready to go to the foxtail field where the harvest was in progress done by a few of the local people. We used hand sickles and our arm power. A local woman was very keen on showing me how the sickle works and she was very conserned that I did not cut myself. We cut a bundle at a time and slowly my work seemed more succesful although not even closely as efficient as the locals. The bundles were collected into bigger heaps which were tied and left waiting for the machine to separate the seed from the stems.

I got change to watch when two local women were separating the ragi seeds from the chaff. They used a stone base in which the seeds were placed, and a wooden mallet with metal end to pummel the ragi. I tried it too for a while and it was really hard work. Later they winnowed the small stones and husk away from the seeds using a base made of coconut leaves. After that the ragi was ready to be packed and transfered to the mill.

All this made me think how much work it reguires to get ”the bread on the table” - in this case for me to get the morning portion of ragi porridge. First harvest the field manually, remove the seeds from the stems, separate the husk and stones from the seeds and finally grind the seeds, and of course prepare the actual food. This surely made me to appreciate more the origin of the food and the food itself.

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CHATI
7 Cliff End
Monks Lane
FRESHWATER
Isle of Wight
PO40 9XA
United Kingdom

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