Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Unusual Story in Hoi An: Farmers’ Life Better Thanks to Teaching Western Tourists to Farm

With a plot of over 1,000m2, two buffaloes and farming tools like plows, harrows, firewood cookers, rice mortars and others, for last 10 years, farmers in Cam Thanh commune of Hoi An have taught Occidental tourists to farm, collected thousands of dollars.

Increase income from farming

“Every Vietnamese people also belittle this agricultural vocation toiling and moiling in the fields, I don’t understand why Western tourists to Hoi An fascinate it. They are willing to spend money to apprentice.” – said Nhi Pham, an old farmer lives in Cam Thanh, Hoi An.

Over nearly 10 years, thanks to the field, two buffaloes, farming tools, and a firewood cooker in the cottage in the middle of Cam Thanh field, he has earned thousands of dollars.

The work of teaching Western tourists to farm of Mr. Nhi and the young man Khoa Tran Van, as he said, was not similar to anyone, but helps their family have a good life thanks to the income higher than 10 times, about 5-7 million VND per month (235 – 330 USD), compared to just only cultivating on this alum field.

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Teaching Western tourists to bail out by four-stringed bucket ('gau dai" or "gau song")
“If growing two rice crops per year on this 1,000m2 field, minus the cost, I will collect just above 4 million VND. However, over last 10 years, we has earned average more than 60 million VND (2806 USD) per year, which has been just “school fees” that Mr. Khoa brought for us by teaching Western tourists to farm.”

Not only Mr. Nhi, Mr. Khoa also has taken Occidental tourists to tens of farming households in Cam Thanh commune so as that they teach these tourists the agricultural occupation. The short-term farming courses within 6 hours are opened frequently by Khoa and these farmers that makes Western tourists to Hoi An flock to register. For each 6-hour-course, foreign tourists pay 50-60 USD/ person.

Beside learning farming, tourists to Hoi An also learn the work of a fisherman. View here.

Pay to win jobs of farmers

Many households planting vegetables in Tra Que village told, in the peak season that numerous foreign tourists travel to Hoi An, beside income from planting vegetables, they also earn extra income (about 3-5 million VND/ month) owning to teaching Western tourists to grow vegetables.

Mrs. Thuy Nguyen Thi, a farmer in Tra Que village said, she started the work of teaching to plant vegetables in a highly unexpected way. One morning as usual, she was hoeing the field to prepare to plant a few bed of vegetables. Suddenly, Khoa took a group of overseas tourists to her field and asked her for help to teach them how to hoe on soil, put manure on beds, plant vegetables. 

“Mr. Khoa spoke English to Occidental tourists, then they rushed down the fields, asked for working with me. I instructed them. At the end, Mr. Khoa paid me 100,000 VND as wage. Since then, I became a teacher.” said Mrs. Thuy.

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Mr. Nhi Pham teaches the tourist group how to transplant rice seedlings
Thanks to this, the tired works of hoeing up ground, growing vegetables and watering of Mrs. Thuy as well as other farmers in Tra Que village has been less strenuous during several years recently.

“In the previous time there was no Western tourists, I alone tried my best to hoe all the field also took me several days. Now also the same field, in just only a morning I work with tourists, my hoeing job complete. I do not spend a lot of power but still earn more money.” She said.

The wife of Mr. Nhi related: “When I was very busy in the kitchen to prepare for the lunch meal, I saw a Western tourist group at the field rush into my house. They contended for washing rice, lighting a fire and cooking rice. Saw me stupefied, Mr. Khoa told me to instruct them the way of making a fire and steaming rice. Since then, I has become a reluctant teacher.”

In addition, she also teaches Western tourists how to pound rice, mill flour and make “banh xeo” (rice pancake folded in half). She has done these jobs for several decades so there is nothing difficult to her.

“Teaching Occidental tourists to pound rice by hand, I worry the most that they can be injured due to carelessness and lack of harmonious coordination. Because one person pounds rice, other mix rice by hand inside the mortar.” said the wife of Mr. Nhi

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Teaching tourists how to pound rice by hand
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Western tourists learn how to wash rice, make a light and steam rice by a firewood cooker
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A tourist is blowing to make the fire bigger
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Western tourists learn how to rake the field before transplanting rice seedlings
ActiveTravel Asia via


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