Using homemade tools, they remove the mud layer and then carve the slab into a nice square block
A large block, once completed. It only takes a short time to make one, and they sell it for about 2 Birr ($0.10). Large camels will carry up to forty blocks, donkeys less than half. The trip to Mekele used to take 7 days, but now they only go half way, perhaps a little more, and sell them to people who do the final journey by truck. In the city market, the blocks will sell for 16 to 20 Birr, or about one dollar. Since the salt mining is a mobile activity, there will be camels for the foreseeable future. However, the Canadian mining company is building a road that will come very close to this area. The camel journey will get much shorter and it is likely far fewer camels, and handlers, will be required. One can only wonder what these people will do.