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The Quarry Project, Kenya

Over the last decade, there has been a building boom in Kenya, with many commercial and residential structures being built.  To meet the growing demand for stone, many farmers have transformed their land into stone quarries in order to take advantage of this business  opportunity.  A quarry, requiring much manual labor, can provide  financial support to an entire village.  However,  there are also potential dangers involved with quarries, a fact that the residents are often  unaware of.  Many of them are unregulated by government, and can present safety, health, and environmental issues.  Both workers and residents can become ill from hard labor, dust, and polluted water in the quarries, or suffer from accidents due to unsafe conditions.  As the quarries expand, trees are cut down, resulting in soil erosion and increased dust.  Wind and rain carry the dust and stone particles into surrounding villages where adults and children work and play.  The stone particles have not been studied for dangerous elements, however, many believe that they are becoming sick from breathing this in.  There is a high incidence of tuberculosis and respiratory ailments among the quarry workers, as well as joint pains.

Kiboko Projects implemented a workshop where quarry workers were able to tell their stories through video interviews and masks that they made.  These young men, with an average age of 17 years old, related their experiences of working in the quarries and how it affects their health, both physically and mentally.  Alcohol and drug use is common as a way of dealing with the pain they endure, and the harsh conditions they face.   Women and children are also workers in this industry, involved in breaking stones into gravel.  The majority of workers in the quarries are out of school due to lack of school fees, and are working at the only job possibility that they can see.  In addition, it is important to note that once the land is used for this purpose, it is destroyed for farming and anything else.  The quarries ultimately fill up with rain water, which becomes a breeding pool for mosquitoes and a safety hazard for people and livestock who can easliy fall into them.