Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Making copra

Copra is the main source of money for people who aren’t employed in formal work, so there’s always someone working on making copra. We have got involved in various stages of the copra making process. This is a simplified list of the stages in making copra:

1. Gather coconuts – 500 coconuts makes 1 bag of copra.
2. Husk the coconuts.
3. Crack the coconuts open.
4. Throw the coconuts up to the drying rack.
5. Arrange the coconuts properly on the drying rack.
6. Light a fire under the coconuts every day until the flesh has dried.
7. Take the dried flesh (ie the copra) out of the shell.
8. Pound the copra into smaller pieces inside the bag for selling copra.
9. Sell the copra.
10. Buy what you want with the money you got.

In between some of these stages, the coconuts/copra need to be moved to different places (eg to the drying rack, to the place for pounding the copra) and the women do this by carrying it on their backs. Here’s a photo of me with a small, but heavy (for me) load of copra. It’s probably about a quarter of the size of what the local women carry.

This photo is a close up of how we remove the copra from the shell (step 7 above):

This is me getting the copra out of the shell:

Here is our copra drying house. I am going down our not-very-sturdy log ‘ladder’.

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