teardrop isle

Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite

Teardrop Isle

Not long after the British occupied Sri Lanka in the early 19th century, the colonists realised Teardrop Isle’s highlands were ideal for growing tea. Plantations were terraced into the mountainsides, factories and rudimentary accommodations built for pickers, rail network engineered to transport leaves down to capital Colombo. Even though slavery was outlawed in the British Empire, the majority of Sri Lankan tea workers are descendants of Indian Tamils – people who were transported by the British in the 1820s and recruited into an indentured labour system that tied workers to plantations. Life has improved little since, yet, as of 2021, Sri Lanka is the fourth largest world’s tea producer. Tea pickers’ salary is only about 1000 Sri Lankan Rupees (4.35€) if they reach the desired quota of 18kg a day. And their barracks-style houses have electricity or running water for a few hours each day or do not have them at all. Surrounded by scenic pine forests, foggy tea-estates, mountain peaks – Tamils greet me and smile, but the rest of their face is tense. They remain the most structurally discriminated against and economically, socially and politically marginalised community in the country, leaving persons further behind with each passing generation.

Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite
Sri Lanka Camellia Sinensis tea plantation documentary project Evergreen Teardrop Isle Grete Tvarkunaite