What We Saw
When we traveled to Kenya, we had the chance to work side by side with the girls on the tea plantations and through this a whole new world was revealed to us. Even young girls are expected to contribute to supporting the family and so they must find work in order to supply some financial help. Many of the women working at the tea plantations are still young teenagers with ages similar to us (Eavan, 17 & Siobhan, 14 & Ella, 12). Their day starts as early as 4:00 AM and usually doesn’t end until 8:00 PM. Before they get to plucking tea, they must wake up to milk the family cow in order to have milk to sell,(if they are fortunate enough to have a cow in their family), after that task is done they will head to the tea plantation where they work from approximately 6:00AM to 6:00 PM and mind you this is by no means easy work. First of all it’s extremely hot or cold outside, with very little in between this particular are is over 7000 ft elevation and the weather is extreme. Secondly, you carry a huge wicker basket on your back all day, that can end up holding 30-50 kg by the time the picking is done. Last of all, there are NO breaks; these women work an entire day with hardly anything to drink or eat besides the tea leaves themselves. If you think their day ends there, you couldn’t be more mistaken. After endless hours of picking tea, one must gather firewood so there can be heat to cook with for their family. When all of the firewood is collected, the women and girls head home with the huge bundles of sticks strapped to their backs and set to work on preparing the meal for their family. Can you imagine having to do all of these tasks and still get your school work done properly?