Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mining for Tanzanite!

Austin and I have become really good friends with our neighbor, Samson, and his wife, Brenda. They are a young married couple like us... but they're WAY cooler than us! Ya know why? Because they own a Tanzanite mine here in Tanzania! Austin about flipped a lid when he heard this and flipped even more when they agreed to take us out to see it!

We spent all day Saturday driving out to the mine, bribing the men who guard the mines to let us in without paying a ridiculous amount of money, and actually climbing around in the mine! It was really incredible and also a pretty big shock. I'd never seen anything like it. I guess I didn't know what to expect because when I saw Austin and Jared climbing down the rickety ladder into a dark, endless hole... I got pretty nervous. Austin and Jared climbed down about 130 meters and weren't allowed to go any farther because they would have needed compressed air in order to do so.

Jaklyn and I waited until they came back and then we went down together as well.... but not as far as the guys went. :) It was creepy down there. I can't believe miners go down for 10 hours a day in that little hole where you have to climb, crawl through tight spots, etc. all the while risking your life just for tanzanite. I'm sure it's not a healthy job or anything. In the states a mine like this could never exist legally because of the lack of safety and health regulations. I mean think about all the dirt and graphite dust they are breathing in all day, every day. But, I guess you gotta make a living somehow, right? Besides... it was WAY cool to see. :)

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