Childhood Lost

Aragon Renuncio Antonio

Wandering of battered bodies out of necessity. Burly, sweaty, hungry. Men, women, children. Many children. Lost in Burkina Faso Artisanal Gold Mines. Too many children.

Frantic bodies moving in and out from the depths. Day and night. No rest. Endless. The sound of improvised mortar fills the air. Stones and more stones. Tons of red dirt coming out relentlessly from the bowels of the earth. Sun. Heat. Holes. Earth. Red. Like blood.
Sanna’m. “Gold” in Mòoré language from the Mossi tribe of Burkina Faso.

All for a handful of gold dust with which to feed the family. From hundreds of feet deep. Playing with death. Working into the abyss without fresh air. Without eating. Almost without drinking. Underworld. Only hitting the wall of the hole. Constant hammering. In search of precious gold. Sweat. Hunger. Perennial cough. Disease. Absence, pain. Death…