At the end of the school year, Mr. Moua and Mr. Raney joined Mrs. Van Houten and Mrs. Printz's second-grade class for a lesson on Thailand and Laos. The students asked many good questions of Mr. Moua. Here are a few examples: "Why did you escape from Laos to Thailand?" "How fast is the Mekong River?" "How does it feel going back to Thailand?" "How do you make rice?"
With Kou and Nu as our guides, we were lucky to not only learn about how rice is grown, but we even got the chance to plant rice in the mountain with Hmong farmers and in the lowlands with Thai farmers. It's long and backbreaking work, but the farmers talked and laughed and seemed to enjoy themselves as they quickly planted their fields and paddies. Many people are working in the fields in June and July to plant rice for the rainy season that is just beginning. The rice we planted will be harvested some time between November and January.
We often saw farmers resting in covered platforms like this one just up from the banks of the Mekong River. They dot the mountain fields and are found in the lowland paddies, too. Notice how the cornfield slopes up the side of the mountain.