Environment oral report

February 23, 2009
By Anonymous

My mother was lying on the wooden floor in the middle of the living room, half watching TV and half
sleeping. You would have thought she was sleeping because her eyes were closed but she wasn't
because she has trouble sleeping at noon. There's always this blank expression she has on her face
that seem to be covering up all her emotion inside of her. My mother was getting old the more I look
at her, with wrinkles and visible lines on her forehead. She has a few dark lines under her eyes,
which look like she hadn't slept for awhile. I Often asked her why her hair are always so smooth
and soft, I rarely see any white hair on my mother hair, she die it to light brown a few years ago.
She has a smooth shoulder length hair that is as soft as silks. People often wondered why I had
small eyes, well I got it from my mother, and our eyes are so small that you can barely see from far
away. She likes lying on the floor, that's the reason why she always has back pain, but she had
gotten used to it because she slept on the floor since she was born. After a long last rest, my
mother sat up and began to lecture me about how I was being lazy. It's a habit of hers, perhaps
she was thinking about her childhood, a childhood of a long hardship. It was hard getting her to
talk to me about her childhood, for she was always pausing for a long time before speaking. 'I
grew up in Tra co (a rural area which is a few mile away from Sai Gon) with my father, step mother
and 7th sisters. I was the 4th among my sister. I went to school, do chores, take care of my sisters
and help my parents. There weren't anytime when I can sit or slack off.' My mother never tells
me a lot about her past, I knew this was a good opportunity for me to get to know her. 'Your
grandfather was a nurse; he opened a little pharmacy right next to our house. Sometimes I had to
walk a mile away from home to get medications for your grandfather. Our family was able to afford 2
kilometers yard of in the farm a few block away from my house, we grew some rice, corns, and some
sweet potatoes.' Then I asked her about her education, 'I wasn't the smartest in my class, but
I tried my best and studied everyday. I graduated in high school and went to medical school for a
while. There I took your grandfather footstep to become a pharmacist; I reopened a little pharmacy
in our house that has once belongs to your father's mother, not long after you were born.'
Growing up in a full house and in a period of struggles, everyday they would be worried of having an
empty stomach or if they're out of rice. 'I almost started a fire, trying to cook rice because
my parent wasn't home in the evening, and my sister and I were starving.' Back then they only
can only eat two meals a day, possibly one meal. Their everyday meal would include rice with sauce,
rice with sweet potatoes or most of the time only rice. 'When I was twelve, sometimes I would skip
school to go help out in the farm with my sisters.' I asked her about the farm and her experience,
she stop to think for a moment, 'There were a small farm in the back of my house, it's been
shared by people in town and we brought a piece of it there.' In March they would grew rice, corn
and sweet potatoes. 'Growing rice wasn't as hard as it look; we planted the seeds and transfer
them to flooded plains called paddies so its roots can absorb the nutrients in water. Once in a
while my sister and I would go to the plain with our parent, to sometimes plow the seeds and cutting
or knocking looses the rice grains or weeding the repining. Sometimes, we would fool around the
plains with the buffaloes that were pulling plows. And of course we often get in trouble. In about 3
months the rice plant grew tall to about 1 meter high, we would see green and firm leafs that were
ready to be harvest.' 'In mid June we began to cut off the stalks and collect them. We would
thresh the stalks to separate the grains. After it's been threshed, the rice will be winnowed so
it then can be stored.' To me it's seem like planting rice is more difficult then she said it
wasn't. Going through all those physical labor out in the farm is hard work to me. 'The sweet
potatoes were also ready to be picked out along with the rice, although it weren't grown in the
paddies, but was grown in between other crops as an edition to keep the soil healthy. We left out
the leaf or plants to dried and feed it to those pigs that we raised in out backyard.' I was
beginning to get curious about the pig since I had seen them when I was little, on my visit to my
grandfather house. 'The pigs stay in a concrete barn in the backyard. We feed them and raised them
to its fullest and sell them off to the market. It can get out of control when they were not fully
fed.' She said in a bit of sarcasm. I decided to help her with the dishes, while she awkwardly
answers my question by telling me her story. I can see that she was trying to make herself
comfortable by shifting around a little. -'Once in a while I would go out to the field, by myself
or one of my youngest sisters to hang out and get some fresh air. There quite a number of population
in my area where I live, so whenever I go out or go to school there I would see lots of cars and
people passing by emitting a large amount of gas. I see the farm as my getaway. One day after I
babysat my younger sister, I ran to the farm to see the sunset. Sitting under the shade of the tree
after a long hard day of dealing with school, family and work makes me treasure the moment. It's
rare for me to be able to come here and watch the sun set, because I was always so busy. The golden
sun was slowly begun to set down the horizon, brightly shine through the green rice field showing a
fair light green throughout the field. My eyes wandered toward a couple of boys leading a few water
buffalo with their bare feet trying to get through the deep sticky mud field. They would harmonize a
song I they always do, while leading the buffalo, letting the rhythms guides them on their way.
Breathing in, I inhale the smell of the rice field, which is the most familiar smell to me. It feels
like they were telling me that I was here, the smell of my homeland. I usually would drift off to my
own world right after the moment the song of the boys' voice faint. My dad always taught me how to
take care of myself, how to take care of the crops, how to keep myself from hunger and to go to
school and learn. But no one ever taught me how to appreciate nature or the beauty of the farm,
because I was too busy to look at what's in front of me. I love the sight, sounds and smells of
the rice fields because it takes me to another world if it's just only for a second. I love how it
would remind me of the warm homely feeling, almost like my birth mother embraced.'

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