Walking along the river with Wati, he pointed to some trees on the bank and said “Those are my trees.” To me it seemed like a random selection amidst wild growth. And Wati doesn’t claim the land, just a specific selection of trees. We were quite far from Wati’s house and there are dozens of other houses closer to the trees than Wati’s. But this is not unusual.

In Menya, proximity and ownership are unrelated. Aside from these trees and the gardens adjacent to his house, Wati has a coffee garden twenty minutes up the mountain and this vegetable garden more than thirty minutes in another direction. I’m not sure how they keep track but everyone seems to know what belongs to whom. Not counting me.

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