Rugged as Rock
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This is woman labor at Chobhar stone quarry, 9 km southwest of the capital city. Thapa, who became a stone quarry worker at
the age of 39, doesnâ€™t mind the work but it can be than daunting when one suffers from asthma, chronic backache and joints and
muscle pain. And as if all that was not enough, her left eye has let her down completely.
Thapaâ€™s daily routine at the
quarry includes excavating the rocks, loading them onto trucks and crushing boulders into gravel
with a hammer. The job is hazardous. Lack of minimal protective gear makes stone quarrying one of the worst forms of labor. More serious still are the dust particles
which cause real injury to
the lungs and eyes. The job also demands long hours every day.
â€œThese days, I have trouble
walking and even while eating I feel unsettled. Pain grips me hard. Walking in the cliffs poses a serious
threat during the monsoon
but I have to keep working despite all that,â€ she says, â€œIt is because of all the dust that I have this respiratory
problem. I used to work
from 8 in the morning to 6 in the evening when I first started here.â€
Inhaling dust with her every
breath and braving all workrelated risks, Thapa involves herself in repetitive hammerings, jarring
her bones and muscles. The trails are steep at some of the most scary cliffs at Chovar. But Thapa,
whose sweat has helped make many patios in the capital, treads calmly on the dusty trail. The blue
sky overhead is lost on her.
Sheâ€™s done it six days a week all those 20 years.
It wasnâ€™t always like this
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