6:00 Ritang has slept at her grandmother’s house. At 10 years old, she already runs the household; at least, it seems not to function without her. “Ritang, do this, Ritang, do that,” is heard all through the day. Now she takes a water pail from the bamboo counter in the middle of the yard to fetch water at the nearby well. When she returns, she washes the teibu, the empty coconut shells her father will use to collect the toddy (coconut palm sap).

Ritang pouts a bit about having so many duties

After her first menstrual period, the old women of the village will teach her their skills: cooking, and the intricate weaving patterns used in mats, baskets and hats. Sometimes Ritang pouts a bit about having so many duties. She is relieved that this baby is the last sibling she will be taking care of.

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It’s an adventure, it’s awakening, it’s human