VietNamNet Bridge – Hang Doi (Bat cave) in Huu Lung district of Lang Son province in northern Vietnam is the place where local people earn their living. Local residents only wish to have bats back to the cave to collect their droppings.
Ms. Ha Thi Dien, who has earned her bread from collecting bat feces for years, said that collecting bat stools has been the job of her village for hundred years. The Hang Doi is the largest cave in the region, which is the home to the largest flock of bats. The cave is 3 hectares in area and the highest place is up to 150m.
Mr. Ha Van Vet, the chief of Dong Sinh village, said that up to 70 percent of women and little girls in his village do this special job. This is a hard and dangerous job but the income from bat feces is not much.
They often go to the cave at 4am to collect bat droppings. Their tool set includes a bamboo basket, a broom, a flashlight on the head, a pair of gloves, a thin raincoat and a bamboo sieve.
In the dark cave, they use brooms to sweep the floor and scoop up feces in their baskets. After that they screen to collect pure bat feces.
They have to work in terrified smell of bat feces and under ‘rains’ of bat droppings. To sustain this smell, correspondent had to wear two masks and applied perfume on the tip of their noses.
Some people climb up to cliffs to take ‘pure’ bat feces, which is not mixed with soil or gravels. After six hours in the cave, they carry bat feces out of the cave.
They earn only VND2,000 (0.1) for a peck of bat feces or VND12,000 ($0.6) for a pot.