We did see a very unusual system among the stone quarrying families however. Because cutting the stones out of the river beds and stream sides requires great strength, the men are usually assigned the task of cutting the blocks. But to us the job of the women seemed equally as demanding. They must pile the heavy damp stones on their heads and carrying them up the slippery and steep paths from the river (about 100 ft. where we observed) to place them in “family piles” to sell when the middleman comes through the area to purchase them. Our guide told us that the average income for the stoneworkers is from $7 to $10 a day. At one of these roadside quarries, we observed a 57-year-old woman doing the quarrying and the carrying all by herself. We asked why this should be and were told that she has been a widow for about three years and there is no one to help her (her children live in other parts of the island). There seemed to be no community structure to help her and we wondered what would happen to her when she was simply unable to carry on this grueling work. The guide and driver seemed to have no answer for that puzzle.
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