|Photo credit: freepik|
April 17, 2013, Wednesday, eight in the morning. The sun was just a little above the horizon and the birds were merrily chirping. Helpers and drivers were in front of their masters' houses doing chores. The sky was blue and the early morning air was crisp. Around me, I could see leaves of trees swaying in the early summer air.
After drinking the last drop of my black coffee, I set out to accomplish the mission I schemed the night before.
Armed with a long bolo, I strode to the vacant lot right next to our school. There were a lot of weeds blocking my way. I felt sorry for them but they had to be cut down. After a few minutes, I reached the spot I wanted to be at, the place where a lot of banana plants grow. I found my target. There...the banana plant whose circumference was about 3 to 4 feet, proud and erect with its big cluster of bananas. I went around the banana plant and paused for a while. Next, I drew a deep breath, I aimed my bolo and...whoosh! whoosh! whoosh! After the 15th hack, the banana plant fell down. Not wasting any moment, I went towards the fallen banana plant and claimed my prize...the big cluster of bananas. (I hacked the banana plant 15 times before it fell down, not because banana plants are sturdy, but because my bolo was blunt and rusty.) I bowed to my imaginary audience and said, "Mission accomplished!" Ha ha ha. After a while I searched the area and saw a lot more clusters of bananas. One cluster will be ready for harvesting two weeks from now.
It was my first time to hack down a banana plant, but growing up, I saw my father do it a lot of times.
Who owns the banana plants? Nobody. In the Philippines, if bananas grow on a vacant lot, anybody can have them--- construction workers, helpers, dog-walkers, anybody. It's just a matter of who sees them first, and I'm not the type who would see them last.
By the way, unless grown in plantations, bananas can reproduce on their own. There's no need for planting or replanting them. The suckers or shoots that grow around the adult plants replenish those adult plants when they die. Each plant grows only one cluster of bananas. The only way to harvest the fruit is to slash the banana plant. That's the end of its lifespan. I know. I grew up in a big fenced-in yard where banana plants grew in abundance.
My two helpers baked banana cakes. Hmm. I still remember the taste of the banana cakes; I still remember being savagely attacked by mosquitoes while I was hacking the banana plant.