The delta of the Mekong River, in southern Vietnam, is formed
by an extensive network of natural channels and several affluents, on
which there are many villages where the local population strives every
day in various activities aimed at the exploitation of the natural
resources of this great area. The Mekong River, its canals and its
affluents, become the centre of aggregation for the people who live
among the various villages and offer a natural highway for many boats
carrying all types of raw and worked material.
Ben Tre River, an affluent of the Mekong River, has a bottom formed by
clay of excellent quality, which is collected and worked for the bricks
production. The river banks are filled with several brick factories,
each with large furnaces where the cooking is done in a traditional way
with low environmental impact.
bricks are produced with very craft means and the processing is almost
completely manual, ea part from the extrusion that takes place through
a mold consisting of a kind of large "pasta machine" with rusty
gears (left photo), always manually operated. In the photo below,
"cooked" bricks (the orange one) and bricks still to be cooked (the
yellow ones). The bricks can be either holed or completely full.
the transport and the usage of fossil fuels would be too expensive, the
furnaces where the bricks are cooked are powered from the chaff (also
called husk) of rice. Basically, these are the plant structures that
contain a grain of rice, which are easily available in the country;
Vietnam is one of the first producers of this cereal.
furnace is filled manually with thousands of unbaked bricks, from the
base of the furnace itself, up to the fireplace summit.
| Through a rudimentary slide, the husk is introduced into the furnace
and burned, bringing it to the right temperature. The ashes of the husk
then come out from the base of the furnace. The cooking of the bricks
lasts a week, during which the furnace must be always powered and
maintained in temperature.
ashes of the husks are gradually recovered and piled up waiting to be
brought elsewhere. Of course nothing is thrown away and these ashes are
re-used as fertilizer, thus eliminating any remaining potentially
polluting and closing a cycle of production done with extremely natural
methods where everything is recycled and there are no real waste to
stored or disposed of.|
|After a week of cooking, the bricks are ready to be loaded on boats and
carried through the Mekong Delta to the distribution centers.
the Mekong River and on between the affluents you can usually see boats
with the traditional pattern (with "eyes"), carrying everything. In
this photo, the transport of sugar canes.|
of the main activities in the Mekong Delta is the exploitation of
coconut, of which nothing is thrown away. During a cruise on the river
you will often come across boats full of coconuts and its by-products,
sometimes piled in huge heaps along the banks of the river, waiting to
be carried elsewhere.
coconut fibre is sometimes turned into carpets and exported worldwide.
Typically, in Western countries, it is used in terrariums, for bedding
of some animals or for various uses in gardening.
families use the coconut for the production of candies, which are
worked in very and natural methods, but so efficiency to that many with
hyper-technological companies will envy. The coconut is first opened
with a great tool like a dagger (pictured on the left), then the pulp is
reduced into flour by a sort of giant grater (pictured on the right).
flour obtained is cooked, boiling it together with the liquid which is
inside the coconut itself, until you obtain a paste of the desired
Candies production. With
a robot precision, the dough is cut manually into small squares, all of
the same size, they are then wrapped one by one, and finally packaged.
Within a few days, these candies will reach stores throughout Vietnam
and maybe also those of many other countries.
breeding of fish and shellfish of the river is another main activity of
many families living in the villages of the Mekong Delta, in southern