Tuesday, June 22, 2004

A Short Interlude To Attend The Festival

In the mountains of Omara there is a tribe that has been farming the arid and rocky slopes for more generations than a person can conveniently count. At first glance the people are poor, living in small homes and growing crops in fields covered in rocks. However the people of the Omara Mountains have figured out how to cultivate slopes that average fifty degrees from horizontal and are often too steep to use tractors.
The government, in a lasting fit of misplaced generosity has seen fit to supply the people of the Omara Mountains with trucks and tractors and such machinery that would modernize the entire area. If, that is, the machinery could make it up the narrow goat paths to the homes of the tribespeople. In fact there was only one man who ever tried to use one of the tractors in his fields. They still tell stories of the event and honor him with a festival every year.
The man had managed to get the tractor to the top of his field and was attempting to turn it around to continue plowing. The tractor leaned precariously over, balanced for a moment on the downslope wheels and then began rolling, ponderously at first but gaining speed, down the hill. The tribesman was thrown free and suffered only minor injuries. He watched as the tractor rolled the length of his field and then kept going all the way down the steep, V-shaped valley, not stopping until it fetched up against the base of the cliffs on the far side.
The state could never accept that the people of the mountain tribes didn't want the machinery and kept sending it in spite of the fact that simply using the tractor had nearly cost one man his life. So the machinery kept coming and the people decided to celebrate with a festival.
Every fall the people of the mountain tribes drag the tractors and other useless gifts to the rim above the valley where they place bets on which one will make it to the bottom first and the shape they will be in when they get there. Once a year travelers in the valley will be disturbed to hear the alarm calls of the Omara tribesmen and the sound of the state's gifts rolling down the valley towards them.