Be Thankful Thursday – The Life of a Child Quarry Worker

The posts I’m doing on Thursdays are about things that help us keep perspective in life and appreciate what we have.

Earlier this year I read an article in the New York Times that really stayed with me.  It was about child labor in sub-Saharan Africa, and they focused on a nine year old called Alone who works in a quarry in Zambia.

This kid gets up at 6:30 in the morning to go to the quarry with his grandmother.  He spends two hours breaking chunks of rock into powder using a large bolt because he doesn’t have a hammer, then walks to school for four hours of classes.

He describes his day like this:

“I break the rocks. I get up early in the morning, before the sun rises. For breakfast, I drink tea sometimes. This morning, I didn’t eat. I’m hungry.”

Alone’s teacher reports that he and the other quarry children have trouble concentrating, partly because they often don’t eat.  Other children tease them for not having the right clothing.

After school he goes back to the quarry and pounds rocks for five more hours until sunset, when he goes home to sleep on the concrete floor in the shack he shares with his grandmother.

Can you imagine spending even one day like this?  But this is pretty much his life, six or seven days a week, for the forseeable future.  His grandmother pounds rocks as well, and Alone’s income is the difference between eating or not.

This is a sobering article, but it’s also inspirational because part of the reason I work is to be able to help out people like this who got a raw deal from day one.  I know many of you feel the same way.  So yes, times are really tough right now – let’s remember to keep in mind how much we have, and why we work.

The article is called Africa Adds to Miserable Ranks of Child Workers

Irene Nash
 

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