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Meet Sierra Leone’s Essential Workers: The Stone Miner

by Alhassan Lamin
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I’m a 60-year-old stone miner in Freetown. I moved to Freetown 20 years ago, after my husband, who was a soldier, passed. I came here hoping for a better life. Before the pandemic, work was better even though it wasn’t good. I had a couple of customers who would pre-order or wait for customers.

Even with that, I was able to take care of my family’s needs. Business is slower, and the cost of stones has almost doubled, but our prices stay the same. Some days, local authorities harass us and take away our tools. We have to pay them to get them back. I use my earnings to care for my nine children.

Now we can go days without making food. Paying rent is an issue, and my landlord has sent a notice for his money. The work is painful. Some days, I feel pain all over my body, but I can’t quit now because I have nothing else to do. ⁠

Credit: OSIWA/Essential Stories

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