Better and secure livelihoods have become a major concern in Musikoma Bungoma County where stone breakers are still struggling against all odds in stone quarry to make a living out of it despite the risks they are exposed to.
Petronila Nyongesa broke and deformed her hand in 2013 after being hit by a stone at the quarry, the 63-year-old is compelled to use one hand to carry out her duties at the site.
Nyongesa is forced to stick at the quarry because of the responsibilities that befall her, she has a sick daughter, and her grandchildren to take care of, moreover her 73-year-old husband can’t toil.
“I crash three wheelbarrows of stones in a day, each wheelbarrow costs KShs.80 totaling to Kshs.240 a day, but I still find this too low compared to this hard and tedious work because I have to provide food for my family, my grandchildren need books and my daughter’s medication” Petronilla said.
However, Getrude Nafuna Juma developed chest pains after she was hit by a stone chip in the process of stone crushing leaving her with a scar on the chest area, in addition, Nafuna developed Pneumonia due to waking up early to embark on her daily activity.
“It’s a challenge since I can’t wake up early or work for long at the moment, I am a widow and a bread winner of my family. My children are jobless, some are still at high school and college level,” The 63-year-old noted.
Wabukhe quarry also led to the death of Peter Wafula’s Joyce Nambaya who died in the year 2019 after a big stone rolled over her and broke her ribs while working at the site, she was taken to the hospital but later passed on while undergoing treatment.
“My mother’s death led my father into depression and he died five months later, this affected us as a family losing parents in such a short time,” Wafula explained.
The residents have called upon the government to intervene and help them secure jobs instead of toiling daily from dawn to dusk without any protective gear excavating stones from deep pits thus risking their lives.