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.

Traditional bure, house for salt factory

Salt Factory in Traditional Bure (House)

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.

salt-water-well-fiji

The Salt Water Well

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.

salt-factory-fiji

stoking fire at salt factory

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.

Low Tide Fiji Salt Water Wells

Looking over the Salt Water Field of Wells at Low Tide

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?

fijian woman at salt factory

Showing us the Raw Salt

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.

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17 Comments

    1. davendeb

      It always amazes me how people that have so little can be so happy. Everyone in Fiji seemed genuinely happy, it was incredible

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  2. Bran Hill

    So cool. I have a new appreciation for salt. I will think twice about throwing it over my shoulder…
    Thanks for constantly teaching me new things through your travels. Keep up the great work!

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Bran. It is true, I will have to think more about where all my food comes from. A lot of hard work goes into things that we don’t even realize.

  3. Gillian

    I love trying different types of salt. I have learned over the years that salt from different places or produced in different ways tastes different. We no longer use any refined table salt! It would be cool to see how it’s produced and, now that I know the work that is put into it, I will appreciate it even more!

    1. davendeb

      It is true, you would never think it but salt tastes different wherever you go. The raw salt is the best and this salt was delicious.

  4. Trisha

    I too no longer buy refined table salt, but occasionally do buy sea salt (it really does taste better)…but it’s funny that I’ve never given a second thought to how it was ‘made’…..interesting that it’s such a simple process that hasn’t changed for millennia, at least on Fiji.
    .-= Trisha´s last blog ..How to Get Invited on Press Trips =-.

    1. davendeb

      I didn’t realize it was made that way either. Really, it is so simple when you stop to think about it.

    1. Eeva

      Hello,
      Whwn I was first time in Sri Lanka, I surprised at the god taste og fish. I bought one kilo of salt to take home. Sea salt was a little bit gray, but good. In February, I´ll go 14 times to Sri Lanka, may be ….. for salt.

      1. davendeb

        I am so happy to hear you are going back to Sri Lanka. Say hello to Ajith for us and tell him that we have tried to text many times, but I guess the international texting doesn’t work:(

    1. davendeb

      Hey Dina,
      It was pretty cool…well not cool hot I guess. Those ladies worked their buts off and looked like they were actually enjoying what they were doing.

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