In a countryside setting, any plot of land, big or small, is surrounded by other plots of land. These are our neighbours and it goes without saying that most likely they were here before we arrived. As well as observing our little kingdom, we must take time to have a good look around, get to know the neighbours and see what they do.
An almost universal characteristic of the people of our village is that we need them more than they need us, we must never forget this. They know a lot of things we don’t, many of those things will be of no use to us but some will be very useful.
On a superficial look, many places look a bit uninteresting. Why does everyone grow the same crop? That is a story for another day. Suffice to say that most farmers are trapped by a lack of independent market access and on top of it they cannot afford to fail, because they live from crop to crop. Once a year most small farmers grow their own rice, unless they are rice farmers in which case……..
But in every village there will be at least a couple of people doing things a little different, these are the people we want to get to know and make friends with. They will generally be more open minded and more curious. Maybe some of them lived away from the village for a time and have been exposed to new ideas.
Another invaluable resource of every village is its elders, people who have seen the changes in the landscape over many years, are steeped in the traditional ways and can share knowledge and skills that sometimes go back generations.
It is better to enter into the life of our new village in a soft and understated way, listen a lot and talk very little, showing who we are by what we do and the respect we show the people around us.
There will be many occasions to get to know our neighbours in a friendly setting, even in a relatively small village there will often be social events when everyone gets together, religious events at the temple, weddings, funerals, house warming parties, village cleanups etc.