Thursday, April 20, 2006

Breaking Rocks

This is a sight we saw all over Lui. It took me several days, though, to understand what I was seeing.

Throughout Lui, the granite outcroppings are everywhere. If you have seen Georgia’s Stone Mountain, you’ll know what I mean. There are granite outcroppings all over the place. And that’s one of the challenges of traveling by “truck”: You are forever climbing and descending on those rocky outcroppings.

And as we traveled these Lui roads, I would see those strange piles of rock. Piles of huge rocks, big rocks, smaller rocks, and tiny rocks. It took a while – and some talking with our Lui hosts – before I understood what I was seeing.

They use these rocks as building materials – to “chink in” their mud or plaster structures.

But how do they create that gravel? They take shards from the granite mountains and outcrops, chisel them down to "merely" huge rocks, and pound them down to big rocks, then pound them into small rocks, then finally pound them down to gravel. Mind you, they’re doing all of this by hand!

They do it by the side of the road. Why? Maybe because it’s easier to transport them? I don’t know. I just know that I saw these piles all over Lui. Most of the time, I saw men at work, pounding the rocks into smaller and smaller rocks.

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