K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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About this recording

Kristin Post
Date created
February 12, 2001
Can Tho, Vietnam
This recording copyright ©2001. Terms of use

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In the classroom

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This was recorded as part of a multi-day Mekong Delta tour that started in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) and finished in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It is a unique experience to cross the border over water rather than overland. We were amongst the first groups to cross the Vietnam-Cambodia border by boat in 2001.

Because rice is a major crop in Vietnam, especially in the south and on the Mekong River, this tour stopped at several rice-related businesses. The tour guide in this excerpt is describing how rice is grown, harvested and processed. He emphasizes that every part of the rice plant is used for some purpose, nothing is wasted. The Vietnamese also have several food-related uses for rice: it can be made into pancakes, noodles, popcorn-type treats, and rice wine.

In another audio clip, you can hear the sound of the rice threshing machine.


Vietnamese man
My country get into the war. Country. So about 80 per cent, 90 per cent people when they work, they haven’t the machine tractor…by hand with the water buffalo. And they still follow the old system from the ancestors. Teaching for them, they don’t know what changed.
First with the water buffalo, they plowing…carry the plow…plowing the land for (?). They use the water from the river, supply for the field. And after that, they throw it in the bed, rice seed. And when one rice seed drops, one rice seed grows up. And when they use the rice seed, they go everywhere in the field. They throw like this.
One day…two day…two day later…and one week later the rice tree grows up like this…and when they throw, somewhere rice tree grows up, somewhere so-so, somewhere haven’t anything. They have to transplant. Transplant make very hard work. They go from morning to evening, 6 o’clock AM, 6 o’clock PM. About one week like that, they bend their body like this…very hard. And they pick up the tree and they plant like this- right, left- right, left- right, left- all in the field, 8 hours.
Everyday they are coming to the field to protect…and supply the chemical, fertilize spray for to destroy the insect, grass, something like that. And about three month later, the rice tree has up like this. And the top of the rice tree…we open the rice ear like this. First small green, and after that, big yellow, like this. Average about one rice tree, you collect 50 or 70 rice like this.
When rice is big yellow like this, they are happy because harvesting time coming. They use (?) they cutting some harvest. Yah. And after that, they use the machine — the threshing machine — for separate the rice seed, and the straw. [Possibly he’s speaking in Vietnamese to someone else.]
Yeah. The straw what do you use? Make food for cow, for water buffalo to eat. And sometimes they make the straw like this for planting the mushroom. And the rice seed they keep from (raining)? Because if wet or humid the rice is broken or the rice tree grows up, they can’t eat. And after (?) already they carry from the house with the bag to the rice factory like this. The factory like this belong to private. And the machine belong to the Vietnamese people we decide and we copy the style by the French a long time ago.
The machine very (?). But first you must go like this when your (?) enter the rice seed. And the machine running by electricity and (?). First they take off the husk and the powder outside the rice seed. With this you can make food for animals to eat, some pigs, ducks or chickens.
Continue to take off the husk. As you know, before the husk they use for burning, fuel and firing, for the gas. Very cheap and a lot. Continue take off outside the rice bean there is the rice powder. Good food for animals to eat also.
Tomorrow when we see the fish farm at Chau Doc they continue to cooking the food for fish farm like this. And collect the rice bean. This they are cooking to eat. Yeah. And second take off the broken rice. Feeding the baby duck, baby chicken.
That mean with the rice you use all. Don’t throw away anything. They use the broken rice. They cooking to make the fermentation to make the rice wine also. Yah. So rice, we use all. Very convenience of the rice.
What’s this?
Vietnamese man
Outside the rice seed there is the powder. Yeah.
How do you separate? It’s a machine that separates or do people pound it?
Vietnamese man
Most of the people, they renting the machine like this and separates because long time ago our ancestors they practice like this but now no more. Just when you go to the Highlands, and the poor minorities, they do it this way, very old system agriculture. Not used now. Yes.
And inside here, you’ve got that.
Vietnamese man
Now you can take one, take off the husk. You will see the rice. Outside this, you go like this, you see the husk powder.
So the machine is able to separate all these individual parts?
Vietnamese man
Yes. Now inviting you inside. Visiting you will see how working of the machine.