The world’s hardest job, Ethiopia’s salt workers earn less than $10 a day


El Sod, a village in the town of Abbelow in the Republic of Ethiopia, sits on the edge of an extinct volcano with a salt lake 1.8 km in diameter. Boranas lived in this village. For centuries, the men in the village had sneaked into the lake for their livelihoods to collect salt mines for sale to the country, Somalia and Kenya.

From the village to the lake, a 2.5 km walk is required. and it will take 340 meters downhill to reach the lake. This process usually takes 1 hour.

Lakes with high salinity are highly corrosive and may corrode all clothing and shoes. Therefore,the salt workers often need to dived naked.

This is the only way for the salt workers to survive and earn money, although the daily salary is less than $10.

In order to protect the nose and ears, the salt workers use plastic-wrapped soil to make nasal plugs and ear plugs, even though this will slowly become blind. The eyes did not have any protection. Many salt workers were blind later.

After the rain, the lake was slightly diluted. There were more than 200 men going to collect salt. More and more children were going to collect salt in order to add some extra income to their families. Parents knew this was dangerous, but they couldn’t help. Because they need to survive.

Overlooking the salt lake from the air, the lake is blue and beautiful. However, when you return to land, you can smell a pungent odor. Black mud and dark lake water are like oil, and it seems that you suddenly fall from heaven to hell.

Three kinds of salt can be found in the lake: black salt can be eaten by animals, white salt can be used by humans, and crystal salt can be sold at a high price.

     

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