Burkinabe Women on the Short End of the Granite Craze

At a granite quarry in the Pissy neighbourhood of Burkina Faso’s capital, Ougadougou, people work from the first light of day. They have been using the same method for centuries. First, at the bottom of the mine, they break up large blocks of granite. Then they carry them up the steep slopes to the upper level where the slabs are then broken into smaller pieces using a metal rod. Many of the workers are women, like Brigitte, who has been doing the job for 14 years. ‘It’s not enough, I’m struggling in fact. The children want to go to school, they need to eat, a place to live, it’s really not easy,’ she says. A day earns her about 8 euros, not enough to properly sustain her family. At the end of a hard day’s work, pans of granite pieces are sold at the site to be used in the construction industry.


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