(Intern Report) June 10th 2012 – Planting Sweet Potatoes

Today we visited Yame. We were preparing a field, together with local people, for sweet potatoes to be planted. These sweet potatoes will allow us to produce our own syou-chu.  The money that we raise goes towards helping the local people. We also helped to surround the field with an electric fence to protect our field from wild pigs, which like to eat sweet potatoes.

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After this, we began the preparations for the sweet potatoes. First, we helped by making sure that the rows of soil were shaped similar to the other already finished rows. Once that was done, we used another tool to pack the sides of the rows to make them sturdier. Then, the tops of these rows had to be leveled to make it easier to plant the sweet potatoes. It was exhausting! It was a beautiful day but the sun beat down on us. We took a break and ate onigiri, pumpkin, and watermelon for lunch.  After lunch, we headed out to pick plums.

Working with the plum trees was a lot of fun.  We first had to use the weed whackers to clear away all the plants and weeds that have grown since the last time it was visited.  Most of the trees had so many plums! It was unbelievable! We shook the trees to get them to fall. We climbed the trees and bent the branches so that others on the ground could reach up and pick the plums. We tried many tactics and were very successful.

After plum picking, we took another short break and went back to the sweet potato field. We now had the actual plants to begin rooting.  We placed each sweet potato plant a set distance apart until we reached the end of the row. After we finished, we wrote our names on a placer and will see in November what kind of results we get!

After we finished, we went to a house in the area that is owned by Groundwork Fukuoka called Kawaguchi-tei. We had a wonderful dinner and as night fell, we went to see the hotaru (fireflies). They appear near the river and it was breath-taking.  There were hundreds of them and it looked like a river of light. It was the perfect ending to our day.

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Written by Stacy and Friedrich

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