The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Floods have washed out roads giving rise to profiteering

OK! Enough already! Stop! You have totally convinced me that you know how to pray! You prayed for rain. Well, we got it! Ol’e Farmer Ted is a little soggy!  You guys are like the little boy who asked his dad for a brother. The dad told him to pray. So, the boy prayed for a couple of months, but grew weary of not seeing an answer, so he quit. Seven months later his dad brought his mom home from the hospital with twin boys. The dad said to his son, “See, aren’t you glad you prayed?” “Sure” said the boy, “But aren’t you glad I quit when I did?” I’ve got an idea. How about we just pray for a good rice crop?

We had not had any “flood cover” (that’s standing water on our rice crop) all year. The first came on September 14th but by September 20th we lost 20 hectares (50 acres) to flood. What happened? The “Big Flush” returned. Last year Bangkok and Korat, Thailand were flooded. This year they built diversion locks, and when China decided that their excessive rains had over filled their reservoir, the plug got pulled and overnight, a one meter high wall of water moved from Thailand to our rice land. It’s a story of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The “Good” news is that we have 125 hectares (310 acres) of good rice, our broken dikes are repaired, and that part of the crop looks good!

 

The “Bad” news is that we have 20 hectares (50 acres) that will have to be replanted, for the third time! Our seed, a foundation grade variety from Vietnam, that will go from seeding to maturity in 75 days, has been purchased. We will soak it in acid treated water and it will sprout before it is sewn. We should have a crop by New Year if all goes well. And, to turn lemons into lemonade, we will sell this variety as certified seed, as it is not available in Cambodia. Sadly all the roads to the rice mill have been cut by flood waters in multiple places, and life is hard on man and machine. Our tractor broke down seven kilometers from the road in deep mud our workers had to carry a 100 kg (220 lbs.) gearbox on a pole all that distance for repairs.

 

The “Ugly” is the emergence of the greedy side of human nature; neighbors profiteering on the suffering of their friends. At the six road washouts on the road to our mill the land owners on both sides of the road conspire to build a bridge, they then charge a toll to cross, fair enough, but their rates can be excessive. The worst is the fate of “Iron Buffaloes” that get stuck. The “good neighbors” refuse to help unless they receive fees like $25US to help pull them out. Large Russian built tractors sit by but refuse to budge unless paid the high fees, groups of villagers with ropes sit and watch their neighbors wallow in the mud but will not give a pull unless paid well. We make a lot of friends of those we pull out, and enemies of the “profiteers.” Then there are the other “Uglies.”  The cobras, rats, and centipedes which have moved into any high ground they can find, causing residents to exercise all kinds of caution when they enter their homes, go near a tree, or work in a field.

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