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The back-breaking work of Dakar’s porters

Carrying 100 kilos of onions all day

In Thiaroye, one of the biggest produce markets in Dakar, Senegal, porters are a common sight. Most of these men come from neighbouring countries, especially Guinea. These men offer to load and unload the produce arriving on trucks for a fixed fee.

Camara Mahmoud moved from Guinea to Dakar about six months ago. He works as a nurse in the health centre in Thiaroye, which is next to the market. One day, he dropped by the market to say hello to a friend of his, who works as a porter. Astonished by the weight that he saw them carrying, he got out his phone and filmed the porters. These men spend their days going back and forth between the trucks and the warehouses, carrying bags of more than 100 kilos of onions slung over their necks and their shoulders.

Many of them come to the health centre where he works. A lot of them suffer from back pain. The workers tend to negotiate how much they will be paid with the truck driver after it pulls into the market. However, they don’t make enough to pay for treatment for the injuries caused by this dangerous labour.


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