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Work in the Rice Fields

Posted by Lee on April 18, 2015

My friends and I work in the rice fields of northern Thailand, looking after the water supply. Traditional wet-rice farming requires a great deal of physical labour. We keep the irrigation canals clear, look after pipework, and week the fields. It's hard outdoor work, which keeps us fit and strong.

With one basket strapped at the waist and another larger one nearby, we may be weeding the ripening rice field or foraging for edible plants.

Our Work Clothes

We always wear a traditional broad-brimmed sunhat and cotton clothes for protection from the tropical sun. I usually wear a thin long-sleeve shirt and Thai Fishermen's Pants, or similar. These clothes dry out within an hour and I start to get hot, but I soon have to go into the water again, so there is no problem. This feels good both wet and dry.

Keeping Cool

On hot days we work in wet clothes. Before we start, we pour water over each other until we're completly soaked through. Whenever we dry out we repeat this. I join in every time, even though my clothes are already wet because I have to go into the water quite often. It's just good fun.

My Work

The rice fields are irrigated by a system of ditches, small canals and lakes. My task is to make sure this all works well. Often I have to go into the water to unblock or fix something. That way I get wet again and can stay cool for a bit while my clothes dry.

wet clothes

wet clothes