Whatever Became of Sierra Leone?

Meet Ali. He’s 15 years old and works in the diamond industry.Ali is a digger in a Sierra Leone diamond field. He’s been one since he was 12. He spends his days shoveling earth along with 100 or so others near a riverbed that, locals say, has already been mined twice. He no longer has what’s called a “supporter,” but when he did, that supporter paid him just two cups of rice a day for his efforts. How big were the cups? he is asked. “Two milk cups full,” he says.And, believe it or not, Ali doesn’t have it so bad. The sorters who sift through gravel work in the water and are vulnerable to bilharzia—a debilitating disease spread by snails—and have greater exposure to mosquitoes that carry malaria and other diseases.If this doesn’t make you uneasy enough, in 2005 Sierra Leone legally exported a record $140 million in gems. An equal amount likely left the country illega
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