Rice is a staple.
The rice plant grows about a foot high and then men with machetes separate the part of the plant with rice grains from the rest of it. The rice grains are shaken from the leaves, gathered, then laid out in the sun on mats to dry in the intense sun, turned with a rake to bake evenly.
When dry, the rice grains are loaded into bags and taken to a machine that separates the husk from the rice inside each grain.
Rice production is labor intensive and men standing in water bend over all day wearing broad hats and long sleeved shirts to bring it out of the fields.
Rice is served here three times a day with vegetables, chicken, fish, pork, and, occasionally- beef. What is not eaten is dished into food bowls for dogs and cats,and pigs.
Coconut trees are also a staple.
Coconut shells are burnt in little fires near houses so the smoke keeps mosquitoes under control. Coconut water is prized in European and American health food stores. Coconut is used to make culinary masterpieces and give texture and color to cosmetics. The leaves from coconut trees make roofs that keep heads dry and kids sleep in bunk beds made from the trunks of coconut trees.
Rice and coconuts leave their fingerprints on everyone here.