Last week, we went to a very interesting place in Bali called Kusamba where farmers harvest sea salt.
When I got out of the car, I saw two elderly ladies working extremely hard carrying heavy buckets of black, volcanic sand on their heads. They were collecting the sand from a coconut tree trunk inside a shack and carrying it to a raised flatted bed of sand closer to the beach and sea.
The bowls were placed on the very traditional type of Balinese weaved hat they were wearing.
It is probably very bad for their neck as they have to carry heavy loads on their heads back and forth everyday in the blazing, hot sun.
We asked the farmer what they were doing and he said they were making salt!
The seawater is first collected from the sea with the help of a long wooden plank balanced on both shoulders holding two buckets hanging on each end.
The sea water is then poured onto flat sand paddies to make the sand salty.
The salty sand is left to dry in the sun for three days before the ladies rake the paddy to break it up and take the broken up salty sand into a big container made out of a huge coconut tree trunk cut in half length ways.
Next, they collect more seawater to pour over the black salty sand inside the container and leave the sand to rest to allow the new added seawater to seep down through it. Big oval bowls also made out of coconut trunks are placed at the bottom of the main container to collect the salt water after it has been filtered through the sand. This is called the filtering process.
Finally, the salt farmers pour the bowls into long, drying trays (also made out of coconut trees!).
They leave the saltwater to evaporate in the sun for three to four days and at last, the farmers collect the left over salt from the drying trays.
The salt looks flaky and the pieces are very big.
The salt is then put into cone shaped baskets made of thin strips of coconut tree leaves beautifully woven. This is how they make salt.
The sand that was left into the main container after the filtering process gets carried back to the sand paddy. This is what the ladies were doing when we arrived.
I loved learning about salt harvesting in Kusamba, especially finding out how they separate the salt from the sand by filtering it using natural resources. What I thought was really good too was that everything that they used to make the salt was made out of things from nature like coconut tree (except from one plastic bucket that was used to put the sand back to the field), sea water and sand. Not chemicals and power that are bad for the world. The bad side is that the salt ladies were damaging their necks.
I would love to see different ways of how they grow salt and vegetables too from different countries and cultures.