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24 Feb 2002
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It seems even harsher over at the farm with few trees to offer shelter, but the welcome is equally warm. Hum's father is a spirited old man with just two teeth showing when he smiles. He grows sweetcorn and marrows but, lacking irrigation, the plants are rather stunted in contrast to those of his richer neighbour. Poverty is a trap - you need capital to lift yourself out of it. Nearby are several fields full of lotus plants, their pink flowers shining brilliantly in the sunlight. They are cultivated both for their flowers which are used in the temples, and for the fruit. We bought a dollar's worth of the fruit and when we went to pay, the farmer told his wife that she hadn't given us enough and sent their little son back to the field to cut some more. We were a little embarrassed as we thought he was complaining that we hadn't paid enough. Back at Hum's farm we found that the rest of the family - their cows and dogs too - had arrived and were roasting sweetcorns for lunch. We ate a few, drank fresh coconut juice, took some more photos and then, loaded with produce from the farm, headed back to the factory.