November 14, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
As citizens grapple with myriad economic woes, some women in the Western Area Rural District have taken-up mining and hewing of stone to eke out their living.
Most of the women who spoke to this reporter said they are single parents whose husbands have abandoned them and their children.
In an area called Rodilape around Leicester village, one of the female stone miners, Jilo Russell, told Concord Times that they have embarked on hewing stones as a coping mechanism to the current harsh economic condition in the country, adding that she feeds and pay school fees for her children from proceeds they get from the sale of granite stones.
When asked as to how they access the stones, she said they buy a truck load of stones at two hundred thousand Leones (Le200, 000), and sell it for four hundred thousand Leones (Le400, 000) after breaking it into granite.
“If we don’t have money to buy the bulk stone, we mine it ourselves, although it can be tedious for us. We usually fall sick from pains, but we have no option other than what we are doing now,” she said.
She disclosed that her husband is seriously sick and could no longer provide for the family, hence she has taken-up stone mining to eke out a living.
Another female stone miner, Hawa Dumbuya of Cassava Farm, also in the Western Rural Area, told Concord Times that she did not have money to engage in petty trading, thus resorted to mining and hewing stones.
“I have three children and my husband is a builder but does not have contract as at now. If I refuse to help him in this trying time, the children will starve,” she expressed.
Like Jilo Russell, Hawa Dumbuya also buys bulk stones and breaks them into granites for sale. She expressed willingness to quit the hard task of breaking stones if she could get an alternative means of livelihood.