First, the kids went to the blanya (rice field) to cut the aros (rice). They were actually sitting in our path to our house. The green things that they are pretending is rice are leaves from the tree that is giving them shade in the picture. Jada and some of her friends climbed the tree and dropped the leaves down to the kids. The kids then pulled the leaflets off and it became rice. That is what the girls in the blanya are doing.
After the rice has been cut, they bring it home and start pounding it. Pounding can be heard all throughout the village from morning till night these days. There are usually two or three women that pound rice in a rhythmic motion, sometimes there is even a fourth woman. These girls had the rhythm and it sounded very real to the actual pounding sound.
While they are pounding, they also pour it into a flat basket type bowl and shake it in a way to make all the shells come out so that only rice is left. They then lay out the shells to dry. This is used as chicken food (I think). This is Luciano (Josiah's closest friend here, he is also 8 years old), he has taken his shirt off so that the 'rice shells' could dry in the sun.
Now they are pounding it more to break the remaining shells off the rice. They often take breaks, so Lydia and Ramatoulli are now pounding so the other girls could rest. Pounding is quite tiring and if your hands aren't calloused, you get blisters on your hands. It is really interesting to watch the women pound rice. Sometimes (I believe to show off, or just have fun), when the stick is high in the air, they toss it up and clap and grab it again and pound down.
Now the girls are starting their fire to start cooking their rice. This is actually how the women here cook. They have three large rocks that the pot will sit on, and they form the sticks in the middle of the rocks. The sticks are their firewood and they push them in as the ends burn.
Here is a better picture of the sticks. This is actually what their moms do to start the fire.
They are now cooking the rice (in the same pot they pounded in...that's not what the women do but the kids were being resourceful).
Luciano is preparing the seasoning for the rice. The women will pound garlic, onions, seasonings and many other things together for the seasoning they cook the rice in. Micah was also adding 'salt' (sand) to the rice for seasoning.
Isaiah is overseeing the cooking process, waiting anxiously to be a taste tester. Micah's hand is seen here adding the 'salt' to the bianda (rice dish). I got to 'taste' it and it was quite delicious.
I was so blessed to see the kids playing this in our yard. The kids were so happy throughout their playing. Kids are not typically allowed to play like kids do. They have learned and are continuing to learn that our compound is a safe place to play. When I jumped in and was 'tasting' their food, they were so happy and it only encouraged them to play even more. This was one of my favorite play activities to watch the kids do. It blessed me just as much as it blessed our children.
I would like to thank every person (kid, teenager, young adult and adult) that has come to our house and played house with our kids. You taught our kids to use their imaginations and today they are teaching other kids, that are constantly told to stop and be quiet, to use their imaginations. Our children are able to be a blessing because of so many that have blessed us. Thank you!