The rooster began crowing about 5:00am. I finally got out of bed at about 6:00. I borrowed Bethany’s waterproof sandals and went outside to the shower room next door (door on right, toilet on left). It is a concrete room about 5 feet by 11 feet. After plugging in the hot water heater and switching on the plug, I was able to take a bucket bath and rinse with the hand-held sprayer. (As always, being careful not to open my mouth to keep from getting sick!) Got dressed.
Our first cup of tea arrived around 6:45! It was black, straight up, no sugar. Always delivered with a smile and enjoyed with a smile. Delicious.
Then we got dressed, had breakfast and headed to the tea factory gate to meet our guide. We walked down the road and then onto the paths that wander through the fields and fields of tea plants. I got to try-out being a picker. The women strap a basket on their foreheads that rests on their backs, pick ‘two leaves and a bud” and toss it behind their heads into the basket. I got to try this out. It was a bit challenging for two reasons: the area we were working was difficult to identify the leaves and the “table” of the bush, that is the flat top of the bush, was only 24 inches high. Now this is great for the short little ladies who work in the fields, but a bit of a stretch for my 5’9” frame! Along the path through the fields, we came upon the “daycare” for the babies of the workers. It is a very large room with two older women and a young helper.
There are many woven baskets/basinets hanging from the ceiling for nap time. Seems like a great idea…some asleep above, others crawling and playing below! One of the women had most of the children in a semi-circle around her on the floor and she was, one at a time, feeding them all! Impressed! They just sat and waited their turn. After walking through many parts of that section, we walked up to wait for the women to bring in their full baskets to be weighed. We enjoyed a few cups of tea at the little roadside store/cafe. I was able to watch the cook make bread. There seems to be a lot of waiting and sitting and talking and relaxing in India. Might be a good thing to adopt…. to a point! Each section of the estate brings their leaves to a weigh station. It is a bamboo structure…low entrance way. Thatched roof which has new layers added each year for four years. After four years, the whole structure is torn down and rebuilt. It almost was “torn down” when I exited. Wearing the floppy, large-brimmed hat (borrowed from Bethany), I could not see the low cross bar and CRASHED into it. The thud was heard by all around and drew a few laughs! Also visiting Makaibari is a professor of horticulture from South Korea. We had an opportunity to meet him and talk with him. I enjoyed listening to our host, Terun Lama, and Dr. Yang trying to talk in English to each other!
(Check out these REAL tea bags!!) After the weigh-in, we rode in the back of an estate jeep back up to the factory. We enjoyed lunch and a long afternoon nap during a rain storm! Tea service. Rest. Dinner and visiting with our host family! The food is so natural and prepared so fresh that we are feeling so healthy. Everything is so organic at Makaibari.
And, rest again. Tomorrow would come early to see the tea processed at the factory. I think Bethany and I are both catching up on some needed sleep. And, it is so easy to relax at Makaibari, surrounded by “organic-ness!”
(Wow, I put a lot of pictures on here and I have so many more I could have put up!)