You think your job is tough?
Try working the salt factory of Fiji like the three women that we stopped to visit.
Anna, Terafina and Lucia greeted us with smiles when we pulled up to their three huts to see their place of work. Located in a remote corner of the main island of Fiji, this salt factory gathers salt from the sea by traditional means.
It is not easy.
The women have to walk out to wells located in a field that catch salt water during low tide. They must carry buckets and buckets of fresh salt water back to their hut where they boil it until it evaporates and turns to salt.
It takes 16 buckets of water to make one half of a pot.
It is rainy season in Fiji and they must time their water gathering to right after high tide while moving quickly to get their quota before the rains come to dilute the salty waters.
The work doesn’t end yet.
They must sit in the huts and feed the fire. It is hot and sweaty work. Even though it is rainy season, it is still very humid outside and inside the house it is uncomfortable and steaming. You would think that the work would be easy once the water is gathered, but they have to gather wood and keep the fire stoked.
Luckily their village is close to their work and they can take turns on different shifts to make the salt.
We ask them if the salt is made for export or for use just on the island. They say it is for export, but we wonder how 3 women can possibly make enough salt to export to other countries?
Whatever the case, the salt is tasty in its raw form. They bring us a bowl full of it to touch and taste and for some reason that salt more delicious than the refined salt we eat at home.
Technology, it can even mess us something as simple as collecting salt from the sea. It is perfect the way it is, but we have to refine it to make it all wrong.