Northwood University

The Northwood University Study Abroad Blog


Rubber Plantation

The Rubber Plantation was an unexpected experience for me. Before the trip I had no clue where rubber came from and where to get it from. After visiting a plantation you realize this process of making rubber isn’t as easy as you think. My first surprise was that rubber came from trees! I didn’t have a preexisting thought of where rubber came from, but I did not think it was from trees. My second surprise was that extracting the rubber was very labor intensive. Workers had to cut hundreds of trees a day, set up cups to collect the rubber, and then come back two hours later to collect the cups and bring the cups to the next step of the process. Another challenge for the workings in the step is that they have to collect the rubber during the night because the rubber flows better in cooler temperatures. This makes the workers change up their sleep schedule and become night owls. The next step of the process includes a little bit of waiting for the rubber to change its Ph levels in a special container. After resting for a few hours it is then ran through a roller which flattens out and is then hung to dry. The rolling and the hanging of the rubber are also done by hand. After hanging to dry it is then put into a heating system to help make the rubber more durable. The last process includes the separating of the good and bad rubber so they can sell them to different people. Scraps are sold for a much smaller amount than the good rubber but they still use it wisely. That is the process of making rubber in order to ship it out to buyers. My favorite part of this experience was the ability to network with the owner of the Rubber Plantation. He really was a very generous and humble person. He made the experience so much better for me and I feel that he will be an friends for a long time.