Friday, August 17, 2007
The Mango saga
The photo above is of me who was given the task of washing and wiping the mangos that had just been plucked from the tree yesterday August 16th, just by where I am standing next to the river and by the side of the lodge. Sidath climbed the tree and carefully with a bamboo plucker with a basket plucks the mangoes and lowers the cane basket from time to time down to be emptied. As the tree is taller than a coconut tree and probably over 40 years old there is considerable skill and risk involved in climbing this large tree, so we can bring the juicy,tasty mangoes to your table.
I have to contend with monkeys, bats, and pole cats to save my mangoes. Sometimes we have to wake up in the dead of night to pull the cord that makes the sound to scare the bats. Once plucked, there is a mango insect that injects the mangoes unless carefully covered. This insect fires an egg that spawns a worm in the mango, so we have to protect them from these once plucked. Additionally the reason I have to wash and wipe is to clear the milk from the cut fruit as the milk on the fruit sometimes hastens an overipening at the point of contact of the gummy like milk.
It would be fair to say that I lose at least three mangoes for each one I can save to sell. I have so far been able to salvage about 1500 mangoes from this tree, which I have sold at an average of Rs 15 each. Without this income I honestly don't think I could have covered this months expense. I have a few more mangoes to pluck next week as they are not yet mature. One of my customers said today, that the first batch I sold them was so sweet but the next was not. I told them it was from the same tree. Can someone tell me if different branches have different levels of sweetness as different branches flower at slightly different times giving me mature fruit to pluck over a period of a month. I bought this property exactly a year ago and I think last year the bats and monkeys finished the mangoes before any human could save any.
I am hoping at the end of this month to post a total icome and expenditure schedule to show how I am surviving in this endeavour just by a hair's breadth.
Please comment on this and other sections below to give me courage to continue in this sometimes foolhardy exercise of a real subsistence farmer. I can honestly claim to know how many of our farmers on the bread live and feel, an insight only those who have to live this life can understand, no matter how much others pretend to understand.