Living a Deplorable Life in Diamond Mining Communities in Liberia

by DFP assistant

During a survey trip into four counties, I was able to meet with many gold and diamond miners. Surprisingly, their living conditions were more deplorable than I had expected; not representing, in my mind, a mining community. Moreover, staying in the final mining town, as we completed our survey, was my very first time to sleep in such an area. One aspect that was challenging for me was the hordes of insects flying in and out of the room until the dawn of day. It was very mind opening to realize that miners and diggers in the gold and diamond industry would live in such a place; something I did not expect.

Bathroom in a diamond mining community
Bathroom in a diamond mining community

I had heard before from others that, those mining diamonds are people who are very rich and are living a happy life. Once, one of my instructors told me that no ordinary person can see or own a diamond because it is very costly; and before you see or touch it, one has to deposit the amount of $500,000 USD just for that. With this false information in my mind, the big question came to be–why the diamond mining communities are not improving when diamonds have such a high value?

Furthermore, it was very interesting and shocking when I witnessed the majority of people that are mining diamonds living a life that I never imagined them living. For example, most of the mining communities don’t have schools for the children or hospitals/clinics. Some can’t even afford to feed their families.

This was so surprising and shocking, interesting in a sad way, an experience that has been transforming my understanding of the real lives of miners and diggers. Meeting and interacting with gold and diamond miners and diggers of different mining communities has really opened my eyes to the real life situations of these hard working folk.

Eye catch photo: People the survey team met in an artisanal diamond mining community in Liberia.