Banana business and the tribal king in the Cardamom hills


If you ever want to see the beauty of tea fields in all variations you should come to the Mūnan area in Kerala, an area where old tribal families live. There are many woods around and the green covers most of the homes. It takes time to understand how many people live here.  There are a huge number of shops, bakeries, groceries along the street. There must live a hundreds of people around.

Then you notice that there are some smaller ‘secondary’ streets. If you take one of them, you find even smaller ones. Those, where you cannot go ahead by car. So, it is time to leave the car and to walk. After a few minutes the first houses in the middle of the woods appear. Poor people houses, mostly with broken roofs. Muddy soil around. A few things only Insider. One, two chairs, a shelter, some containers. But since the social programs have been started things are going to change. Some villages are organized in self help groups now, a ten, twenty people who help each other, can get micro loans and do first steps to set up a small business.

Small Business and a Banana factory

In one village two groups have saved some money, bought land, planted bananas and constructed a small fabric. They produce banana chips. 600 banana trees are growing there now, 3 lorries to distribute the final products have been bought, a total of 20 people have found a job. Meanwhile three young men cut and fridge the bananas, the women weight and package it. They produce now also other fried fruit, roasted peanuts, mixtures. It smells fine.

Did you ever meet a king?
When we leave I learn that here, in this area, lives the last tribal king of India.
Wow, a real king!
His house is just a few hundreds meters away. He is rather joung, they tell me. He has been elected when he already had started to work in the administration in the big town. But then the old king died. And he left, came back to his village – a king had to stay with his kingdom. He wears special clothes, meets with Indian ministers and he has bodyguards. Also in his villages he is the most respected person. The decision maker of a tribe that comprise several hundred people …
Of course, I want to see him. But when we arrive at his house – big delusion! Today he has left the village for an external visit. He will return just in the evening. He did not even leave a prince or princess at home.
I have missed the only chance of my life to meet with a king face to face.

Ok, his house is not really a palace, and the king’s shop is very similar to all the others. But a king is a king.
Maybe one day, I will come back here…

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