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A Grain of Rice
Lita Fearon — Orangeville, ON
My first recollection is being plucked from the dark moist earth and transplanted into a larger field close by. It is not so crowded here and I have more room to sprout upwards towards the sun as it gets warmer each day. However, I miss the closeness of my fellow seedlings as we talked about our future in our homeland called India. It is almost spring 2011.
It is amazing how much we have learned from our constant chattering and news spreading from one to the other. We are a staple crop and feed millions both at home and abroad each year. In fact, in the remote villages and poorer districts rice is sometimes all a family has to eat on a daily basis.
After three months I am ready to be harvested and laid out to dry. After the drying process I am packed into a burlap type bag and shipped to a huge warehousing depot to be graded and await sale. Rice is a major export of India, but the bag I now call home is sent to a local wholesaler and I am destined to end my short life like so many of my countrymen, close to where I was born.
After the bag where I am housed is bought by a local Rotary club, I find myself in a large stainless steel pot full of boiling water and stirred by a huge spoon until the water evaporates and I am fluffy and soft. Transferred to a serving bowl I now hear a lot of noise and wonder what is happening around me.
I am finally able to climb to the edge of the bowl to have a look and see hundreds of children and their parents being fed. The children are excited but seem a bit apprehensive as they are led by volunteers to an area close by and are changed into new brightly-coloured outfits. I strain to see what else is going on and I see six strange people, different from my countryman, all dressed in blue t-shirts with a logo saying Sleeping Children Around the World. They are shaking hands with the children, blowing bubbles, and singing songs. The children join in, laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
They are then led to an area where a photo is taken by the “big cheese” of the blue shirts and then they are free to collect a huge bag with many items for sleeping. Their eyes light up and they smile from ear to ear when the realization hits them that this is all theirs. They will have a comfortable place to sleep from now on and as their parents lead them home, they too express their thanks and appreciation to all the donors from Canada and around the world who have made it possible.
My life is now complete as I look out into the fields and see the new seedlings ready for transplant and realize it is January 2012 and a new cycle has begun.