As I moseyed through a village far enough off the beaten path that literally everyone stared at me, an impressively intelligent 12-year-old asked me to play football with him. We kicked a ball around for a couple of minutes and then he confessed that he wanted to be a tour guide when he got older, his father was a tour guide when he was younger and that was his path as well. Upon his request we strolled around the village and he shared some local insight; quite the conversationalist he was. There was one question in particular has stuck with me.
“What is number one vocation in America?”
At first I didn’t understand, rather I didn’t know. A 12-year-old stumped me. I tried to explain that many people do different things and that there was not just one occupation that the majority of Americans held. The more I thought about it, I wanted to tell him that the number one occupation in America probably consuming. Just general consumption, of everything and anything. I chose not to delve into it with him, rather I asked the same question about Nepal. Farming. It didn’t take him more than a second to answer, and he said it with matter of factness in his voice.
Maybe it’s because I grew up closer to a city than any farms. Or maybe it’s because the U.S. has had a dramatic change in its agricultural system in the last 40 years; systematically making it more and more difficult for small family owned farms to sustain, let alone thrive. Huge farms with equally massive machines to do the work have taken over the industry, so visiting a family owned farm was always a special treat for me. Perhaps it’s a negative way to look at the whole situation, but either way – here are some photos of a couple lovely ladies that I harvested rice with. Walking around Nepal it’s practically unavoidable to witness locals tending to their crops, and Pokhara is no different.