We stayed at a beautiful property in the village of Castlereigh in Sri Lanka. It is located at a high elevation and we were amongst the low clouds most of the day. One day we toured a nearby tea factory. You can read about that here and we also took long walks up and down the hills to see how the locals live.
The women of the villages pick the tea leaves. They work in the sun and rain and usually pick 700 leaves a day. Here, they were taking a break to weigh their work and then they were going to have lunch.
Pickers work until they are 60 years old and receive a pension of sorts. Pickers can start working when they are 18 and depending on the company that owns the land, most receive housing, childcare, and health benefits. The men work in the factories and perform other maintenance jobs.
At the end of their shift, around 3:30 p.m., the women carry their bundles of tea to a drop-off area in the nearby village. I watched dozens of women carrying bags when I was walking back to our lodge. It looks like very hard work.
When James walked with me, the boys in the village would run up to him and say "Photo, photo!" This group was excited to show us their cricket bat and they enjoyed posing for the camera. Another younger boy really wanted his picture taken later that afternoon. He roped his unwilling friend into it and they loved seeing the images. (This could be one of my favorite photos from Sri Lanka - below.)
We stayed at the Castlereigh Bungalow which is part of the Ceylon Tea Trails properties. It was gorgeous.