Sri Lanka – My First Exposure to Modern Day Slavery & The Devastating Reality

The Tea Plantation

We headed in our busloads to a small tea plantation based about 40 minutes outside of Kandy.

It was certainly an experience I don’t think a lot of us were ready for. As we arrived we were lead down a set of stairs over to a populated area where we were then brought up another set of stairs where houses started to emerge between the trees. Once we had arrived we walked through rows of small houses with washing hung up outside, baby goats roaming around everywhere, the surfaces were all uneven and it was muddy. There was one water tap we came across as we arrived in the area that we saw, and the toilets were a hole in the ground and a bucket of water to wash it down.

This was first hand modern day slavery and living quarters for those who worked at the tea plantation we were visiting.

To be allowed access to these small housing buildings that sleep up to 8 people, have minimal kitchen facilities and lounge area, and a single toilet between 60-80 people living on the plantation, you must have a minimal amount of 2 family members working on the tea plantation to access these luxuries.

Minimum wage for working their 12 hour days picking tea leaves is £2.50 per person, for the day. This is only just enough to feed the families that live on the plantation. Just about enough for those with children to buy rice and the bare minimal.

The housing is also owned by the managers at the plantation. This means that those living in these houses can be removed at any moment with no explanation by the managers at the plantation. It was a really difficult situation to be in and see how they lived under such poor conditions. We brought them sweets and chocolate and a few of us, including myself, got very upset about the situation.

It’s definitely some food for thought when you’re drinking your next cup of tea, I am not saying don’t drink your tea because it potentially funds their lives. But it’s still a little passing thought for you.

They were the most humble people, a few had TV’s in their homes or a laptop so they still had access to things, but majority slept on the floor, there is one bed in each home and to sleep 8 is quite a push. They couldn’t understand why a few of us were upset and crying, they wished us well upon us leaving. Although, I found a few of us removed ourselves from the area before we were due to leave as it left us very heavy hearted. I also refused to take my go-pro out whilst there, I filmed the entirety of my trip, but not this part.

Just prior I bought 2 large containers full of loose tea leaves to bring back to the UK with me. They’re delicious. But I will always think about those families whenever I pull it out of my beautifully white painted cupboard in my perfectly good home, where they have none of this, and cherish how lucky we really are.

 Licence To Grill Bar & Restauarant

Once our visit to the plantation was over we visited Licence to Grill, a burger and grill restaurant on the 5th floor of a building! The journey up the stairs was colourful as there was beautiful wall art all the way up the walls and the ceilings.

The FOOD was amazing, grilled chicken to burgers and much more all on an open rooftop terrace. They also agreed to host our leaving party even though they can’t serve alcohol past a certain time, but that was no bother for them.

Yet even whilst we were eating, the thought of the plantation workers was still quite prominent in a lot of our minds.

We also came back here for lunch one day whilst it was raining, we sat under the terrace and had some food watching the rain come and go, it was really peaceful and lovely especially as we were tired this day. After lunch Myself, Mel and El headed off to get some Henna!

More beautiful artwork, but on ourselves this time!

4 Replies to “Sri Lanka – My First Exposure to Modern Day Slavery & The Devastating Reality”

  1. It sounded like the living conditions at the tea plantation was very difficult to see. It’s lovely you brought them sweets and chocolate to brighten their days. It’s sad to read about their situations and certainly makes me appreciate how lucky I am. Thank you for sharing your experience, I’m glad you had a peaceful end to the day ❤ xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

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  2. Oh my gosh how heart wrenching some of the living conditions sound awful, I’m not sure I would have been able to experience it. The food sounds like it was amazing though and that you had an enjoyable lunch x

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  3. This must have been soo difficult to see and it just makes me so grateful and understand how lucky I am. That is lovely thought that you took them treats 💗 thanks for the informative post xx

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