Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rubber Plantation:

Never will I take the tires on my Honda for granted again. Not now, when I know about the back-breaking labor that produces rubber.

Trang's major product is rubber and rubber trees are everywhere. Not big factory farmed acres of trees but little patches of them that support individual families in a modest way. We visited such a family today who collect sap from 1000 trees on their little "plantation."

After the sap is collected, they make slabs of "rubber" from it and run each one through a hand-cranked press to flatten it and remove all of the liquid. Then the slabs must dry before they can be sold. One slab requires sap collection from 10 trees. The whole family must pitch in to collect the sap and make the slabs.

The sap-collecting "cups" on the trees are down low to the ground. To collect sap, a man must "bow to the tree," which is also a way of honoring it. How many times must he "bow to the tree" over his lifetime to keep his family fed, clothed and sheltered in the little dwelling next to his work place?

How many times must he "bow to the tree" to collect enough sap to make tires for my Honda?


  1. Great stories and photos, Pam. Keep them coming so we can share your adventures! Ken and Lori

  2. Wow! the natural beauty! How great you helped to plant the Mangroves! and yes we should appreciate rubber more, it sounds like a lot of work!
    Be safe and happy!
    Love Patty : )