Working Man's Death: Ghosts

Working Man's Death: GhostsWhen dawn breaks over Kawah Ijen, men with bamboo baskets slung over their shoulders and torches in their hands emerge one by one out of the darkness, only to disappear into the white sulfur vapors of the volcano later. We visit east Java in Indonesia – where men climb steep paths amid pungent vapours carrying a heavy load of sulphur rock from the mouth of a volcano.

The sun is already out by the time they reach the "kitchen." The "kitchen" is the place at the edge of the hot, blue-green lake at the bottom of the crater where sulfur is mined. The "kitchen" spits, hisses, billows up in clouds of hot caustic vapor. Here molten sulfur flows through long clay pipes, touches the air, and hardens in a matter of minutes. Orange puddles turn into pale-yellow, jagged-edged chunks and slabs.

Equipped with long iron rods, the men stuff a cloth or the sleeve of their jackets into their mouths, and dash up the slope and into the biting fumes. There they break off big chunks of hardened sulfur. After a few minutes of this, they are forced to take a breath. They cough and spit, but keep on working.

Other episodes: 1. Heroes, 3. Lions, and 4. Brothers.

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Ratings: 8.00/10 from 3 users.
  • anospi

    Having been here just 6 weeks ago, all I can say is the empty feeling you get from watching this is nothing compared to what you feel when you're actually there, walking the trail with those guys. Respect.

  • Abamovich

    Never complain about my job again :)

  • rawbot

    wow, that was an amazing documentary. I really loved the way it was shot, very intimate. No unnecessary commentary, really just letting the image speak for itself. Also I quite enjoyed the conversation about Bon Jovi, that was kind of random, but very appropriate. :)

  • bohista1

    I can only imagine if we had to do a job like that - well I for one would never make it - we'd be complaining, huffing and puffing. But they sit, have a smoke and have a casual conversation about Bon Jovi. I have to admit, that made me giggle. But wow, respect is right. I honestly don't know how they do that day in and day out.

  • lmo7

    What an easy life we got here. If I did that it would have killed me in 30 seconds. These countries are very rich in natural resources but the selfish politicians make these countries poor and ultimately poor people pay the price.

  • Robert Andersson

    the entire system is probably corrupt, do you think the corrupt system would let a honest politician rise to power? dont you think the corrupt system controls media and thus controls politics? but go ahead, blame the politicians...

  • lemby76

    thats a hard work my respect for this folks may G od bless them and give them strange

  • The Dude

    I thought the "system" were the politicians?? Corrupt corporations, criminal organizations, they kind of all go together... Whoever controls the money.

  • Robert Fairhurst

    Great doc and utmost respect to all the workers. I can't help but get the feeling that at the top of that sulphur mine is a rich baron living the good life while the workers breaking their backs are probably making pennies. In a utopian world they would form a trade union and take over the mine for themselves, making sure they could all earn a decent living.,