Tea Plantations of Kericho Kenyaby Juan Alberto Casado

A trip through Kericho, Kenya’s Tea Plantations

A Trip Through Kericho, Kenya’s Tea Plantations

Tea Plantations of Kericho Kenyaby Juan Alberto Casado
© Juan Alberto Casado 2019

Juan explains about passing through Kericho, Kenya’s tea plantations: “I was traveling by “matatu”, the crowded vans that work as public transportation in Kenya, when we crossed some beautiful tea fields on our way to Kericho, in Central Kenya. It looked like a perfect light-green sea, and I decided that I would manage to return to that exact spot the next day in the morning. I did not know whether I would be able to find workers there, though.”

“As I had planned, the next day I looked for a “boda-boda” (moto-taxi) to take me along the road back to the fields. When we arrived, I was lucky enough to find a dozen of workers picking the leaves at that time of the day. I got into the field along narrow alleys among the bushes and took a few shots from afar. Then, somebody started yelling at me from some distance: “no photos! no photos! did you ask for permission?”. “No, I don’t”, I answered quietly, smiling at him. He was the foreman and he had his orders: no photos should be taken. At that moment the very owner arrived (lucky me that he was there). I explained to him what I was doing with my photography, taking out my tablet and showing him photos I had taken all around the world. After a few minutes watching my photos and listening to my stories, he agreed that I could take more photos in his field, and so did I.”

Tea Plantation Workers in Kericho, Kenya Photography by Juan Alberto Casado
© Juan Alberto Casado 2019

“Those were really hard workers, no doubt. I didn’t even know how they could walk among the thick tea plants, which were next to each other. They had to pick up something like 25 kilos of leaves during the whole day, under the sun or the rain, depending on the time of the year, to get up to $3 USD per day. Surprisingly, it is considered a normal and decent salary in that area of the planet. The tea, of great quality, was largely exported. Sun was hidden behind some clouds, diffusing the light enough to avoid strong shadows at an hour of the morning, around 10, when the sun in Africa already punishes without remorse. I raised my camera several times and some of the workers sincerely smiled at me, even stopping their duty for a few seconds. I left the place feeling strong admiration for them.”

Categories: Africa, Kenya, Kericho

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