After a long stint searching for employment but to no avail, Gladys Naibeyi gave up her quest in 2009 and turned to stone crashing.
Today, the 30-year-old from Kalemge village, Busia County,Kenya wakes up at 5am to collect stones from the bush in preparation for her day’s chores.
“Most people associate this work with men but I have learnt how to do it since I have no other option of generating income to cater for my four children,” she says.
It takes her three days to crash stones that can fill up a lorry and for this she gets paid Sh1,500.
“I however, only go home with Sh1,200 since I also have to pay the people who load the lorry,” Naibeyi says.
She says stones have a ready market in the region. “Stones for construction are in high demand in this region. People from Eldoret, Malaba border and other parts of the country come for stones from me. I do not have to look for customers, they come by themselves,” she says.
Naibeyi says the main challenge she faces in her daily work is carrying stones on her head from far places to her business station.
She also says injuries, as a result of hitting herself with the hammer, are inevitable but she has to soldier on.
“I am not planning to leave this work soon because it is a source of income for me. During the dry season, I work full time on this job and in the rainy season I farm in the morning and go stone crashing in the afternoon,” she says.