Rotary Club of Portland: Service Above Self

Nov
09
2017

Youth Exchange Update

An update from our Youth Excahnge student in Denmark

This past Monday my host parents arranged to take Esteban, Keely, & I to tour the sugar factory in Nykøbing Falster. The area of Lolland Falster and much of Danish agriculture is dominated by the sugar beet. My train ride to school and much of Lolland is covered is draped in fields of sugar beets, and as the harvest season continues, the only mountains on the island are mountains of sugar beets.  unfortunately pictures were not allowed inside the factory and as we waited outside the gate with about 20 other visitors I felt as if I was in Roald Dahl’s story “Charlie and the Chocolate factory” Esteban and I joked that whoever would survive the tour would get to keep the sugar factory but it turns out we all made it to the end of the tour.

The factory smelled pretty strongly of the beets and dirt. The tour guides voice was masked by the noise making it even more difficult for us foreigners to understand what he said. Esteban and I had a feeling we might be in for quite a boring tour but our opinion quickly changed. As soon as we saw the huge river of water and sugar beets flowing into the massive washing machine we were thoroughly impressed. Machines the size of school buses took in vast amounts of sugar beets that in just 12 hours would be fully ready table sugar. The factory is only operating for 100 days a year the rest it is closed for repair, waiting for the ground to give up the next harvest. In those 100 days the factory works nonstop 24 hours a day 7 days a week. By the end of the 100 days it has produced over 2.5 million kilos of sugar.

I was very lucky for my host parents to take me because they only hold 2 tours a year and tickets can sometimes be difficult to get your hands on. The tour while difficult to understand was an awesome experience and I was definitely taken aback by the magnitude of this operation.

 

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