Staying in the South Indian plains of Tamil Nadu you cannot imagine what’s up there in the hills at a height of ca. 1500 feet. For reaching the most known places such as Ooty, Munnar or Valparai you have to climb up a huge number of hair pin bends. And then, at a certain point they are there: the tea fields. Covering all the hills in a pleasant way – lovely hills like in Tuscany in Italy. Here and there you see women groups working in the fields in colourful clothes.
This morning around eleven we go for a village visit when we see them carrying huge bags of tea leaves on the heads up to the street where a man wrights the bags and the leaves are collected. The women have a little bit of time to relax before they go back to the fields again.
We stop and talk to them, then we take some pictures. They like it. It is a kind of “adventure” for them to talk to us, it seems. It might be an unusual interest and visit that happens rarely during their long lasting working days.
When we ask about there health status while doing this work they tell us about backaches, a lot of cough and cold, joint pain. Rarely snake bites. “Animals can be dangerous,” they tell us, “animals such as wild elephants, leopards, black bears and wild pig.” There are a lot of risks…
We continue for our village visit and they have to go back to the fields, too. In the early afternoon we travel back to our NGO. 28 (!) wild pigs cross the street. It starts to rain heavily. Two hours later it is still raining cats and dogs.
It is around four o’clock. We leave Valparai and go back to the city, down in the plain. When we take the first hair pin bends we see the groups of tea field women again – walking along the streets, back to their villages or bus stops. Some of them have to travel up to two hours and will arrive when it gets dark only. They are completely wet.
The raining season has started. The next three, four months will be difficult for these women.
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Truth from afar…