The "Kawah Ijen" is a stratovolcano in East Java. In its crater there is a lake and the crater itself is used as an open-pit mine.
Every day (or rather, every night, well before sunrise) dozens of miners climb to the top of the Ijen, descend into the crater, collect 60, 70, sometimes even 80 kilos (equal to 130, 150, 170 pounds) of sulfur rocks and then carry them on their shoulders, first back up the crater and then down the mountain again several more kilometers to the weighing-station.
The sulfur is then sold by the "employer" company to chemical industries, first of all the industrial rubber companies, at prices estimated at around 5000 times more than the price paid to the miners for their work.
The people of the Ijen are poor. They are strong. And they are just like all the other human beings. All they can do is try to survive. And these are the conditions they are up against. Because, as Ferdinando Scianna says: “There are no hells that are not inhabited by men looking for happiness."
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