Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tea County

A winding bus ride took me up to the tea plantations of Kerala. Steep hills and endless slopes glowing in a shiny green, with dots of color where women were picking the fresh green tea leaves. What a laborious job this must be....on the steep hills, feet covered in mud and threatended by leeches, women bend over the tea plants all day, harvesting separately the fine lush green tea leaves on top of the plant, slowly loading their bag on the back with today´s crop. In Kerala, in line with the communist leadership, tea pickers are paid in rice to a certain amount, only if they exceed a certain daily crop, they are paid this difference in actual money. Additionally, they are guaranteed free medical services and health insurance, as well their children have free access to public schools.
Tea plays a preponderant role in this region as it is almost the only income source in the area.

Having seen the the laborious process of harvesting and processing the tea we are used to drink so readily, I came to learn to appreciate every single cup of it....

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