It’s the month of May, and in Kathmandu farmers are busy in their fields. There is much harvesting and planting to do before the monsoon arrives in June.
The Kathmandu hash house harriers brought us recently on an agricultural run through the paddy fields just south of Kathmandu. The farmland itself was around three kilometres outside of the congested ring road that encircles Kathmandu, just to the north of the pretty Newari village of Kokhana.
So whilst we were running around, looking for white blobs on the track to tell us where to go, the local residents were busy doing much more productive chores.
There were women ploughing their fields and weeding their crops. There were some men carrying hay for their cattle and goats, animals that were staying safely back at home.
The most popular activity at the moment is threshing the harvested wheat. Many women are busy manually separating the ripened wheat from its stalk. But those more ingenious females who live close to main roads don’t bother hand-doing it. Instead they lay the wheat on the tarmac and wait for buses, motorbikes and cars to roll over it so that they sweep up the grain after rush hour. Who needs combine-harvesters when you have such an active workforce here?
We ran too through the village of Kokhana where we met the majority of men. Whilst their women were out breaking their backs under the hot afternoon sun, they were busy sitting in the shade watching us amuse ourselves by running aimlessly around.
And as if working in the fields wasn’t hard enough in itself, water shortages in the village of Sano Khokana forced women to also queue for hours to collect water from the village communal tap.
It’s amazing that are so many fields so close to the capital city. It’s wonderful to have the freedom to run in a place devoid of buildings or pollution. And it’s incredible that we could run straight through these fields without a farmer coming after us with his shotgun. Instead, we were greeted by smiling faces on women who were glad to have something like us to distract them from the hard work they were doing.