In the picture is Kang (brother) Wadi, a tapper and palm sugar maker was actually about going to market to sell his work. Please note the watch he was wearing. He did not wear it in everyday life. But because I need his picture with lodong (bamboo tubes to accommodate of palm juice) then he happily posed for me for a while.
After harvesting today’s taps, boiling the sap for half cooked, because the weekend had arrived, Kang Wadi had the opportunity to sell his product to local market. With this money he will buy daily necessities for his family.
Going to the market to sell the palm sugar that he makes and collects during the week is a very enjoyable routine for Kang Wadi. Apart from getting fresh funds, he will also meet other palm sugar makers from other villages.
Gossip in The Market
In the market, besides selling, the palm sugar makers will exchange news, whether about the price of arenga sugar, agricultural conditions, or just gossip about the current condition of the country. They will also exchange information about buyers of palm sugar from the city. Who likes to be in debt and who also pays always smoothly.
Back in the village, Kang Wadi will retell his experience to his family and carry on with his daily life.
The Daily Life of Kang Wadi as A Palm Sugar Tapper
The everyday life of an Arenga sugar tapper in Indonesia can vary depending on the location and season, but generally, like Kang Wadi, includes the following activities:
- Wake up early: Arenga sugar tappers usually wake up early, around 4-5 am, to begin their day.
- Collect sap: They then climb the tall Arenga pinnata trees, also known as the sugar palm, to collect the sap. The sap is collected from the flower stalks or spathes using a bamboo container attached to the tree.
- Process sap: Once the sap is collected, it is brought down to the ground and processed to make sugar. The sap is boiled in a large wok or pot over an open fire until it thickens and turns brown.
- Strain and cool: The boiled sap is then strained to remove impurities and left to cool in molds made from bamboo or coconut shells.
- Sell sugar: Once the sugar has hardened, it is removed from the molds and packaged for sale. Arenga sugar tappers usually sell their sugar to local markets or traders.
- Maintain equipment: Arenga sugar tappers also need to maintain their tapping equipment, such as the bamboo containers, ropes, and spiles, to ensure efficient sap collection.
- Rest and relaxation: After a long day of work, Arenga sugar tappers usually rest and spend time with their families.
Arenga sugar tappers often work long hours, up to 12 hours a day, and may work in remote areas with limited access to basic amenities. The job can also be physically demanding and dangerous, as climbing tall trees can be hazardous. However, Arenga sugar tappers play an important role in the local economy and provide a valuable source of income for their communities.
It’s very interesting to observe the daily life of a palm sugar tapper like Kang Wadi, isn’t it?