I actually enjoyed the cotton picking because it gave me a chance to talk with and get to know Tahmina. We picked slowly, rested frequently and at lunch time fell asleep under the cotton bushes. But fortunately for us, we had to do this only once.
I have mentioned it before in the blog, but since it does not cease to astound me, I will write it again. The government requires that all university students pick cotton for an indefinite period of time every fall. Teachers are supposed to go on Sundays, their only day off from school. Starting in August, students live together, eat together, sleep together and pick cotton together not returning home until November or December. And this is because the government is committed to paying salaries and tuition.
At the end of the day I was tired and my back was sore, and the buses were over full with sweaty grumpy people, so I stood the whole way home. Tahmina and I, together, had picked only 40 kilos of cotton in eight hours, about 40 kilos below par. But we just laughed it off and were glad to return to the city, thankful that come morning we only had to teach children and not pull white fluffy lumps off brambly bushes for days on end. We decided not to return again.