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Salt for living
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  Jan 24, 2018
Ezeleda Mwalyenga chat with her friends while they prepare to filter salt from salty sand in Idifu, Dodoma, Tanzania on 25th July 2017. On the foreground are lumps of sand left after salt is extracted through filtration. On the background, Bao Bab trees are seen.

 

Text and Photo by Deepak Tolange

Idifu, Dodoma, Tanzania

 

Ezeleda Mwalyenga, 52, lives in Idifu village in Dodoma region, Tanzania. After her husband left her, Ezeleda started living with her daughter and her family. Ezeleda Mwalyenga and her daughter have some cows, goats and chicken. Idifu is a semi desert that lack water and receives very little rainfall. Due to these reasons there is not much agricultural activities. Men go far from the village to work while women try to find small works in the surrounding. As an alternative, some women collect honey from the forest or salt from the fields. The nearest salt field is an hour walk from Ezeleda’s house. For many women salt extraction is not easy as it requires lots of firewood to boil salt water to extract salt. Idifu has Bao Bab trees but the government has made strict laws against cutting them.

 

Ezeleda Mwalyenga was interested to have her photo taken while she saw a camera. After learning about her daily life and especially about salt extraction work, I asked her if she was interested to have photos taken of the salt extraction process. The photos were taken for two days on 25 and 27 July 2017. Before leaving the Idifu village, Ezeleda and her daughter Malia looked at the photos in a laptop. Some of the photos were presented to them.

 

Ezeleda Mwalyenga, walks to a salt field in the outskirt of Idifu village in Dodoma region, Tanzania on 25 July 2017. The nearest salt field is an hour walk from her house. She carries wheat chaff (not seen in the photo) in a plastic bucket.

 

Salt is ready. Ezeleda Mwalyenga fills a bucket from a tin vessel after water has vaporised from salt. The salt will be dried for few days before taking it to hat bazar for selling during weekend.

 

A friend of Ezeleda Mwalyenga collects water from a water hole close to the salt field in the outskirt of Idifu village in Dodoma region, Tanzania on 25 July 2017.. This water is used to filter salt from salty sand.

 

Salt water is being filtered using two layers of plastic buckets in the salt field in Idifu on 25 July 2017. The bucket on top is filled with one fourth of wheat chaff (not seen in the photo). Then, salty sand is put in the bucket. Finally water is poured continuously on top of the salty sand in the bucket. Wooden sticks are used to support bucket placed on top of the other. Buckets standing on top have small holes (not seen in the photo). The water is collected in the bucket placed below.

 

Ezeleda Mwalyenga walks back home carrying a bucket of salt water placed on her head in Idifu on 25 July 2017.

 

A friend of Ezeleda Mwalyenga observes as Ezeleda boils salt water using wood and all dried stuffs collected for days in the premise of her house in Idifu village, Dodoma, Tanzania on 27th July 2017.

 

Ezeleda Mwalyenga with a friend rest while the salt water boils in the premise of her house in Idifu village, Dodoma, Tanzania on 27th July 2017. Ezeleda’s friend gives her company as the boiling takes place for around five hours.

 

Salt is ready. Ezeleda Mwalyenga fills a bucket from a tin vessel after water has vaporised from salt. The salt will be dried for few days before taking it to hat bazar for selling during weekend.

 

Ezeleda Mwalyenga (in green t-shirt) stands in front of her house after extracting salt from salt water. A bucket of salt has been extracted from four buckets of salt water after boiling it in a large tin vessel for around five hours. The extracted salt is dried to evaporate remaining water and then sold at the market in village. Ezeleda Mwalyenga said there it is difficult to sell local salt since packet salts from big companies are available in the market.

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