On Tuesday I was busy starting dinner in the late afternoon when I heard the sound of a motorcycle making it’s way up our long driveway. If I’m not expecting anyone this sound makes me feel a little nervous, because it usually means someone is here to try to ask me something that I probably won’t fully understand, and that always makes for an awkward few minutes of attempting to communicate with gestures, facial expression, and what words I can remember in my flustered state. As I stood inside the screen door at the front of our house two men I had never seen before pulled up at the end of our driveway, stopped the motorcycle engine and got off. I headed out with a tentative smile thinking “Oh boy, what’s this going to be about?”
The shorter of the two men, who looked to be in their 40s, gestured to the tall tree in our yard and said “Bisa mangga?” (well, he said more than that, but those are the words that I heard and understood), which basically means, “Can we have your mangoes?” I followed his gaze up the tree and realized for the first time that our tree was laden with mangoes! They were hanging so far up there I didn’t even notice them! I promptly answered “Ya, bisa”, which means, “yes, you can”. I watched as the taller man nimbly swung up the tree and attached a long rope to one of the branches. The shorter man attached a long stick with a hook on the end and a plastic basket that looked like one of the handheld ones that would be used for a small load at the grocery store to the rope, and the mango harvesting tools were pulled up the tree. For about 15 minutes the man in the tree used the stick to grab every possible mango. The man on the ground attempted to catch any mangoes that didn’t make it into the basket-it was pretty funny to watch him rush to catch them, or jump out of the way so he wouldn’t get hit in the head by a wayward fruit! Unfortunately I forgot to get out my camera and get a picture of the reaping of the mangoes-I am often so busy experiencing things here that I don’t remember to snap a picture until it’s too late.
When the basket was lowered down, full of green mangoes, I ran out to get a few before they were taken away. I think the men were shocked when I only took six mangoes, but I don’t know what I would have done with any more than that-I would rather the mangoes be used to bring in some money for those men at the fruit market. After all, if it weren’t for the skill of the tall man to pick the fruit and the boldness of the shorter man to ask me in the first place, most of the mangoes would have gone to waste pecked away by birds or smashed and rotted on the driveway.
Here’s the tree-now stripped of mangoes
And here’s our share of the windfall-still hard as rocks, but hopefully they will ripen soon and then, yum!