REAP Harvest Festivalplantrich
Today was an exciting day for me as I travelled 40 km from my home with my sons. My youngest boy who navigated us with google, asked many questions about our visit. However, I kept talk to a minimum and told him that I wanted him to fully experience our destination.
After a while, Google told us we had reached Vallachira. A few of my Rotary members were there to receive us. More people joined us and we walked over a small bund, with a beautiful stream on one side and paddy fields on the other. We walked 600 metres to reach a paddy field. The paddy was ready for harvest. I saw two women in the 80+ category who were waiting with great enthusiasm to see the harvest festival.
The paddy cultivation group and Rotary members had joined together at the bund. I saw a great enthusiasm in the group which had a lot of youths and teenagers. The President of Rotary Club of Peruva, Matthews, introduced the project and Rtn EK Luke District Governer Elect addressed the gathering. I explained the success of REAP, how Rotarians had nurtured it with great love and respect to become the great movement that it is today. I told them how REAP rice was in great demand among Rotarians. Even their friends and relatives kept asking for it. My young boy, Amit, loves REAP rice and asks his mother to serve him REAP rice.
REAP project has change much; the food habits of Rotarians, the environmental consciousness of Rotarians, enthusiasm among agriculturists and many more.
Then it was time for the harvest festival. We all removed our shoes and pants and entered the paddy fields with bare feet and tradtional lungis and started harvesting. Teenagers were trained by their parents on how to harvest. The old women were sitting on the bund and watching their grandchildren haravesting. We tirelessly worked and later sat down to eat tapioca, chutney and toddy. My boy said it was the best food there he had ever eaten. I knew the food tasted great due to several reasons, because of our great hunger, the wonderful company of old and new friends friends and the atmosphere of heart-warming fellowship.
As we stood there under the mango tree plucking mangoes and eating it, I became nostalgic about my younger days. After a happy fellowship we said goodbye to all and returned.
This event impacted me personally when my 8-year old boy told me that he was experiencing paddy harvest for the first time in his life. It also made him think about how difficult it is and how hardworking the farmers were. I told him that farmers were very open, innocent and only knew to love unlike us city people. Respect them! They will produce pesticide-free good food for you.
I am happy my young boy experienced the message of REAP. It is the promise of transformation.