It is great to share actual pictures of young Afghans working to process lapis lazuli stones in Balkh Province. Asadullah is from Qultaq Village in Dawlat Abad and is 20 years old. This hard-working young man is drilling tiny 2mm micro lapis beads. He has been working for two years and earns the equivalent of $ 7,000 U.S. per year.
Hait Murad, another ethnic Turkmen lapis worker from the same village, is 25 years old. He has been working for 10 years and earns the equivalent of $ 10,000 U.S. per year. Notice his Afghan “mosque hat” made in Pakistan.
In their village, there is no main power, so they use this generator to provide power for their drills and light to work.
There are only 15 people employed in this area, so these young Afghans feed and support large extended families.
Peer Nazar, the Afghan merchant who sends me their lapis beads to sell in our store, says that conditions are better now; there is no tribal war or terrorism, and there is peace in their area.
The young men invented this sharpener using a bicycle for power and to sew.
What is amazing is that these Turkmen people have carved out a life for themselves in this village with no assistance and no leadership. They carried the lapis lazuli stones from the mines in Badakhshan and set up the processing facility by themselves.
It is even more serendipitous that we have made contact with these people through Peer Nazar and are able to sell their beads in Langley, Washington.