While in Hoi An we took a boat up river to Kim Bong village, hired some push-bikes and went exploring. We spotted plenty of the classic 'old women bent over working in a paddy field', as well as various local farmers tilling their fields or tending their crops.
The locals all either farm or make things - their only sources of income. And they were keen to show off their skills (but never tried to sell us anything). We watched one mother and daughter team making brightly coloured mats out of dried reeds which they sell in the day market for $3 a mat.
We were invited into a few people's houses to watch them make stuff too. One place was a noodle factory. Ok, a noodle hut. The family that lived there bought the rice from their neighbours, ground it, soaked it, spread the milky solution onto a steamer to cook and when cool cut it into strips to sell by the kilo as noodles (50p a kilo). They made 10kg every day so if they sold it all they brought in £5 to cover costs, pay for materials and live off. They were even brave enough to let Stu have a go.
Later on we came across a family who made their living making fishing boats out of reeds. They were circular boats that looked like giant baskets that they sold for $50 to local fishermen. It took them two weeks to make each boat. The old man of the family aged 87 was the main weaver and he very kindly let me help him out with some weaving (but probably ditched it later!). They were all very patient with us bless them.
It was such an amazing experience and everyone seemed genuinely pleased to see us and show us around. (With my Arsenal top maybe they thought they had a celebrity in their midst!)